Bali is a beautiful island with amazing people. No matter where you go in Bali, you'll surely meet a friendly local who has no problem helping you if you need it or having a conversation with you. While many people here can speak English and you can get by with it alone, it's always helpful to learn some phrases in the local language. You'll even impress your Balinese hosts and maybe make a new friend or two. Here are some useful words and phrases you should know when going on a holiday to Bali.

The Local Language and Basic Etiquette

The local language of Bali is Balinese. However, everybody on the island can speak the national language; Bahasa Indonesia. Besides speaking the language, it's also important to observe some local etiquette and mind your manners so you don't offend the locals:
Always dress and act modestly. While you can be in swimwear at the beach, remember to wear appropriate clothes around town and cover up with a sarong when you enter a temple.
Remove your footwear when you enter a home or temple.
Never touch someone's head as the head is considered sacred.
Don't use your left hand to give something to someone as it's considered rude.
Don't point your feet at someone or something as the feet are considered to be dirty.


When meeting someone in Bali, here are some phrases that you can use to greet them. Handshakes are common, but if you're a man greeting a woman, it's best to wait for her to offer her hand first. If she doesn't, a friendly smile is just as good.
Hello - Halo / Hai
Good morning - Selamat pagi
Good afternoon - Selamat siang
How are you? - Apa khabar?
Good or fine - Baik
My name is ... - Nama saya
What's your name? - Siapa nama kamu?
Good evening - Selamat sore
Good night - Selamat malam
Goodbye - Selamat tinggal
Thank you - Terima kasih
Please - Tolong
Sorry - Maaf
Excuse me - Permisi / Maaf

You should also know what to call people when you're speaking with them. Balinese and Indonesians in general rarely use the term "you" or "kamu" in a conversation, as it's not considered polite. Instead, it's best to use honorifics which are usually determined by a person's age. Here are how you address people in Bali:
Elder man - Bapak / Pak
Elder woman - Ibu / Bu
Someone slightly older or similar to you in age, regardless of gender - Kakak / Kak
Someone younger - Adik

Helpful Phrases

Knowing some general phrases can be helpful when you need to ask a question or give directions. Below are some phrases you can use to obtain information when you're out and about on your Bali holiday:
Yes - Iya
No - Tidak / Nggak (casual)
What - Apa
When - Kapan
I don't understand - Saya nggak mengerti
Can you repeat? - Bisa ulangi?
How much? - Berapa?

When giving directions to your taxi driver, you can use these phrases:
Can you take me to ..(name of place)? - Bisa antar saya ke ...?
How much to go to ..(name of place)? - Berapa harganya ke ...?
Turn Right - Belok kanan
Turn Left - Belok kiri
Taxi - Taksi
Stop here - Berhenti di sini
Wait here - Tunggu di sini

Bali has delicious food and great shopping opportunities. To make sure you can clearly communicate what you want to eat and get the best price when shopping, use these words:
I want this - Saya mau ini
I don't want spicy - Nggak mau pedas
Hot - Panas
Cold - Dingin
Ice - Es
Dine in - Makan di sini
Take away - Bungkus
This is good - Bagus
So expensive - Mahal banget
No I don't want - Saya nggak mau
Can you make it cheaper? - Bisa lebih murah?
Just looking - Lihat-lihat aja
I'll come back later - Saya ke mari nanti

Knowing some words in the Indonesian language while in Bali can be useful especially when you want to communicate something specific like directions and ordering food. However, if you prefer to stay at a resort with excellent facilities and service, as well as English speaking staff, why not stay at Club Med Bali? Our international staff are fluent in English and some even in other languages. So book a stay with us now!