Imagine if you can say in Indonesia language [i.e. Bahasa Indonesia], then your vacation will be more fun. You can greet people you meet with Bahasa Indonesia, which shows your respect. Even you can survive during your shopping, whenever the seller can’t speak English. So, learn a little bit of Bahasa Indonesia will give you an advantage.
I believe greetings are the most basic communication we do, especially when we travel. We can smile and greet each other, in the hotel, restaurant, park, etc. and for me it always makes my day.
We have similar greetings to English, except we also say Selamat sore. We use it for late afternoon, approximately at 3 pm until sunset, which is around 6 pm.
When we meet friends we also ask how are they doing. The Indonesian phrase for How are you? is Apa kabar?
Often it’s more fun to shop in the traditional market or art market or little shop than in duty free shops or department stores, because they might have unique handmade souvenirs that are not available in the big stores. Unfortunately, many of the sellers can’t speak English. So, the most basic phrase will always be:
How much is the price? = Berapa harganya?
Most of the time you can bargain in those shops. You can ask them to lower the price or the simplest question is to ask for a discount. It’s because we use the same word discount (Indonesian word = diskon), so the sellers will immediately understand what you are asking. Even I often see the seller brings out a calculator to show the price there and the buyer negotiates by typing in new price there.
In terms of price, here are the numbers we say in Indonesia:
We use belas for the teens in English, for example Twelve = Dua belas, Thirteen = Tiga belas, etc.
Now you only need to assemble the figures to call the price. For example, if the price is Rp. 257,500 then you say Dua ratus lima puluh tujuh ribu lima ratus rupiah.
Or it will be easier for you to bring a piece of paper and a pen or a calculator, so you don’t have to say it.
The last word I would like to introduce, but a very important word is Terimakasih, which is the Indonesian word for thank you. But don’t worry if you can’t pronounce or remember this long word, many Indonesian understand thank you. The most important thing is the sincerity when you say it.
I hope you have the chance to practice these Indonesian words when you travel Indonesia, or explore Sunda :)
Speaking of exploring the land of Sunda, have you checked out the tea plantations in Puncak Pass highland, the tropical beach of Pangandaran, the lake crater of Kawah Putih, and Bogor Botanical Garden?