Useful Expressions in Indonesian: Greetings

Aug 5, 20210 comments

Have you ever heard that Indonesian people are among the world’s friendliest? It’s almost as if it’s in their blood to make visitors and expatriates in Indonesia feel welcomed. Indonesians in Bali, Jakarta, Java and across the country won’t hesitate to say hello to a foreigner, and they tend to be very excited when they get a response in the Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia). By learning and using some basic Indonesian greetings, you’ll quickly be able to connect with Indonesian people.

Don’t worry, Learning Indonesian is quite simple, the words are pronounced exactly how they are written.
The very first thing a visitor or expatriate in Indonesia needs are some essential Indonesian survival phrases. Here are some simple everyday greetings that you can use in your interactions with locals:

1. Everyday Greetings in Bahasa Indonesia

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The following are the most basic greetings used in the Indonesian language.

  • Selamat pagi – Good morning
  • Selamat siang – Good afternoon*
  • Selamat sore – Good afternoon*
  • Selamat malam – Good evening
  • Selamat tinggal – Goodbye
  • Sampai jumpa lagi – See you later

* There are two ways to say good afternoon, depending on the time of day. When greeting someone in Indonesia between the hours of 11am and 3pm you should say “Selamat Siang” and for greetings between 3pm and 6pm you can use the phrase “Selamat Sore”.

2. Special Greetings in the Indonesian language

These are some common special greetings in Indonesian that can be used in both formal and informal situations.

  • Selamat ulang tahun – Happy birthday
  • Selamat tahun baru – Happy New Year
  • Semoga sukses – Good luck
  • Selamat (ya) – Congratulations
  • Semoga lekas sembuh – Get well soon
  • Turut berduka cita – Expressing condolences
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3. Basic Conversations and Indonesian vocabulary

Here are some Indonesian survival phrases that will really help you in daily interactions and make your visit more memorable.

  • Halo – Hello
  • Apa kabar? – How are you?
  • Terima kasih – Thank you
  • Sama-sama – You’re welcome
  • Sampai jumpa – Bye, see you
  • Ini/itu – This/That
  • Iya/Tidak – Yes/No
  • Maaf – Sorry
  • Permisi – Excuse me
  • Silahkan – Go ahead
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Keep practicing your Bahasa Indonesia and start really impressing the people you meet in Indonesia with these simple expressions! In no time at all you’ll become conversational in the Indonesian language and will begin connecting well with locals.

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