Half the fun of traveling is picking up as many new languages as you can. “Please” and “Thank You” should be considered the bare minimum. You owe it to yourself to be fully immersed in local culture! And while Indonesian phrases may sound complicated to learn, we promise it doesn’t have to be. With a little practice, you’ll impress locals in no time.
12 Easy-To-Remember Indonesian Phrases
Taking the time to learn a few basic Indonesian words will not only help you along the way, you’ll gain local friends and find yourself looked upon far more favorably than those who are shouting loudly in their native languages. Pick up the most important words in Indonesian language that we have listed below:
1. Kafe – Cafe
Pronounced as: Kah-fe
Fun fact: A majority of cafes in Indonesia have alcoholic drinks on their menu.
2. Oleh-Oleh – Souvenirs
Pronounced as: Oh-leh-Oh-leh
Fun fact: You will find souvenirs like statues, keychains, incense burners, and even bottle openers in the shape of the male genital everywhere in Indonesia.
3. Nasi – Rice
Pronounced as: Naa-se
Fun fact: If there is no rice on the table, Indonesians don’t consider it as a meal!
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4. Pedas – Spicy
Pronounced as: Puh-dah-ass
Fun fact: Sambal — spicy chilli sauce — is served with every dish in Indonesia.
5. Toilet – Bathroom
Pronounced as: Toy-let
Fun fact: You will find toilet paper being used as napkins in local restaurants.
6. Enak – Delicious
Pronounced as: Ay-nah-ak
Fun fact: It is not considered impolite to burp, and can even be regarded as a sign of appreciation of a delicious meal. Therefore, Indonesians generally do not excuse themselves after burping.
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7. Kopi – Coffee
Pronounced as: Koh-peeh
Fun fact: Luwak Coffee, exported from Indonesia, is known all over the world as the most expensive coffee. Interestingly, it is made from coffee beans plucked from civets’ feces.
8. Teh – Tea
Pronounced as: Te-eh
Fun fact: Indonesian white tea is one of the priciest teas in the world.
9. Pomp Bensin – Petrol Station
Pronounced as: Poh-mp Ben-siy-un
Fun fact: In Indonesia, it’s common to find barrel pumps or bottled petrol for sale on the side of the road. While there are a large number of petrol stations throughout the country, it’s a common fill up method for scooters.
10. Uang – Money
Pronounced as: Uh-wa
Fun fact: Cash trumps cards as the primary form of payment in Indonesia.
11. Toko – Shop
Pronounced as: To-koh
Fun fact: In Indonesia, bargaining is the first rule of shopping, especially in traditional markets.
12. Kuil – Temple
Pronounced as: Ko-ee-yul
Fun fact: Borobudur temple in Central Java is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.
These were some of the essential phrases you need in Indonesia. Aside from challenging yourself, learning basic Indonesian phrases shows respect. It tells the locals that you’re more than just a backpacker who has arrived in Indonesia for a few days. When you ask a question in Indonesian, you’re sure to get a smile. And if you’re lucky, you may get a better deal. Book a vacation to Indonesia today and travel like a local!
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