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Five Essential Phrases for Travel to Bali/Indonesia

Home > Bali > Adventure | Free | How To | Language | Travel
by Fern W (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer, that likes to travel. I love great wine, food and entertainment. From Australia and currently based in Malaysia.
Published September 28th 2014
Talk like a local in Bali
Perhaps you've already visited Bali a few times or maybe you are still dreaming of it. Aside from packing your toothbrush and cozzies for your next trip, why not try and learn a few useful phrases in Bahasa Indonesia (the national language) to help you get by.

Indonesia's Official Tourism Website

Bali, holiday, adventure, language
On your way to tropical bliss?


If you're anything like me, when you travel you like to get a taste of what a place is really like. One great way to get a better feel of a new culture is by making the effort to interact in the local tongue.

Don't expect to master the language in a few weeks, but just have fun by learning a few simple words and phrases and who knows, it might even come in handy too!

Rice fields, Ubud, Bali, holiday
Beautiful Bali!


1. Hi = Halo
Pronunciation guide: 'a' is said like the a in 'car'

An essential greeting that can be used at anytime of day. Although there are time specific greetings which are also useful, for now it's best to start with the simplest and the most versatile.

Look at you go! You've mastered your first expression and that wasn't too hard was it?

2. Where is the toilet? = Di mana kamar kecil?
Pronunciation guide: 'i' sounds like the i in 'it', 'e' sounds like the e in 'egg', 'c' is pronounced as a ch sound

In an unfamiliar place, sometimes this can be the most urgent of questions. It might be hard to understand their answer though. Hint: try and use your hands to elicit a response with gestures also. If the situation is really urgent, perhaps try grabbing a local person by the hand while asking this and encouraging them to lead the way.

3. Thank you = Terima kasih

Everyone loves good manners, so this will be very useful and you can get plenty of practice saying it too!

4. Help! = Tolong!
Pronunciation guide: 'o' is said like the o in 'on'

Let's hope you won't need to use this one, but if you get into a sticky situation it's good to know how to call for assistance.

5. Too expensive! = Terlalu mahal!
Pronunciation guide: 'u' is said like the 'oo' in too

Like most good tourists to Bali, you'll probably want to have a dabble in some market haggling. This is a good 'trick' to keep up your sleeve for when you have finally found the perfect fake 'Gucci' handbag and you are trying to get a better deal.
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Why? Wanting to immerse yourself in Indonesia
When: Anytime
Where: Bali or anywhere else in Indonesia
Cost: Free
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