I plan to travel to Bali and want to learn some basic words in native language, like "Hello", "Thank you", ....

But I'm not sure which language is native to Bali. It looks like there are Indonesian (Malay) and multiple forms of Balinese language.

Which one should I choose?

  • 4
    Are you just going to be in tourist areas? It sounds like you don't want to try to learn the language but just a few words. If you really want so few words why not learn "hello" and "thank you" in both Indonesian and Balinese? Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 6:29
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    It's unclear when to use what. And even worse I have found that "The members of the four castes use different dialects of the Balinese language" :(
    – valodzka
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 10:30
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    WikiVoyage has both an Indonesian phrasebook and a Balinese phrasebook, but the former is much more fully fleshed out while the latter has lots of gaps. Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 11:23
  • Haven't been there myself, but my understanding is that lots of monolingual Aussies go to Bali.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 20:29

2 Answers 2


The native language in Bali is bahasa Bali (Balinese). The official language in Indonesia is bahasa Indonesia (not Malay as you said, due to political reasons the two languages have separated). Anyway, Bahasa Indonesia is used by all people for education, government and almost everything else in Indonesia. You definitely should choose Bahasa Indonesia since it is spoken by all people in Bali and all other islands of Indonesia. Also, people in the touristic places will be able to understand basic English words and you can manage by English only, but it will be nicer if you use some Bahasa Indonesia words and people there will respect that.

Here are some few words that can help you get by:

  • Yes: Ya
  • No: Tidak or Nggak
  • Hello: Halo or Salam
  • How are you: Apa kabar
  • Fine: Baik
  • Please: Tolong
  • Excuse me: Permisi
  • Sorry: Maaf
  • Thank you: Terima kasih
  • You are welcome: Sama sama
  • How much: Berapa
  • Where: Dimana
  • What: Apa
  • When: Kapan
  • Restaurant: Restoran
  • Toilet: Kamar mandi or just use toilet
  • Room: Kamar
  • Food: Makanan
  • Hospital: Rumah sakit
  • Airport: Bandara
  • Beach: Pantai
  • Expensive: Mahal
  • Me, I: Saya or Aku
  • I want: Saya mau

Remember, the letter C in Indonesian is pronounced as CH.

P.S. I speak Bahasa Indonesia and I always managed by just Bahasa Indonesia anywhere in Indonesia.

  • 1
    The c hint is good; but I notice none of your suggsted phrases use that letter :)
    – Flimzy
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 18:47
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    @Flimzy lol you are right :) I just added this info in case the OP wants to read something there. Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 19:36
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    @RudyGunawan they became separated for political reasons, then developed individually from there. Though at the time there probably were already enough differences to classify bahasa Indonesia as a separate dialect at least, a regional language based on Malay quite possibly.
    – jwenting
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 5:30
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    @RudyGunawan They are separated for political reasons, read this part in Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_language#Official_status Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 5:33
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    Temple: Candi -- pronounced "chandi". There are lots of temples in Bali. :-)
    – kevinarpe
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:53

Since Bali's main income is from tourism, you can survive by just using English, and the local people are able to speak English or at least "broken English" (This is not applicable to any other island in Indonesia).

If you want to use local language, you better choose to learn a bit of Indonesian words. Some basic words (other than what MeNoTalk has mentioned) can be found below :

  • YES : Ya
  • No : Bukan / Tidak (formal) Enggak (informal)
  • Police : Polisi
  • Eat : Makan
  • Food : Makanan ( Makan with postfix -an )
  • Drink : Minum
  • Sleep : Tidur
  • Cheap : murah
  • Help : Tolong
  • Medicine : Obat
  • Country : Negara
  • Name : Nama
  • 1
    Depending on where you go it's true for all islands... There's areas of Bali as remote as a mountain village on Flores or Lombok, and few would speak English there (though probably some, especially with eco-tourism becoming more important and opening those more remote areas to foreign travelers).
    – jwenting
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 5:32

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