Survival Guide to Jakarta:  Basic Bahasa Indonesia

***Learn this FIRST!!

This is for those who have zero knowledge of the language, and are visiting Jakarta, or have just relocated to Jakarta.

Whilst there are plenty of language guide books/apps out there, I often found that in a real life situation, you probably won’t appreciate having to flip around frantically in your language book OR struggling with poor internet access to run a Google Search, in order to communicate your needs.

It is in those times that there are indeed a few phrases that you can fall back on, that will have you understood by others. Even if it’s broken Bahasa.

So I’ve condensed a list of the MOST IMPORTANT MOST BASIC primal words that you will NEED first and foremost (in my opinion) to SURVIVE in Jakarta in your first month!

Disclaimer: These phrases/words are limited, basic and perhaps not accurate Bahasa, but it has helped to tide me through my first few weeks/months until I had a basic grasp of the language to form sentences and communicate my needs effectively.

*Most Important Sentence

Maaf, saya tidak tau Bahasa Indonesia = Sorry, I do not know the Indonesian language


Directions

Most drivers (uncles) speak only Bahasa, and some do not know how to use the maps. Hence you will find yourself having to direct your driver from time to time. Take a screen shot of this and keep it with you at all times.

Belok = Turn

Belok Kanan “kah-nun” = Turn Right

Belok Kiri = Left

Lurus Terus “loo-roos ter-roos” = Keep Straight

Berhenti di sini = Stop Here

Bukan di sini = Not Here


If you are walking and need to ask for directions:

Permisi, XXXX di mana? = Excuse me, where is XXXX (name of venue)?


Basic Manners

Terima Kasih ‘trim-mah-kah-see”= Thank You

Permisi = Excuse Me (if someone is in your way)

Maaf “mah-ahf” = Sorry

Bagus OR Baik = Good


Shopping

Hargannya Berapa? “har-gahn-nia ber-rap-pah” = Price How Much?

If you do not understand numbers in Bahasa, have them show you the price on your calculator app…

Mahal = Expensive

Ada Diskon? “ah-da dis-con” = Is There Discount?

Murah = Cheap


Ordering Go-Food OR Go-Jek

[This is a must] After keying in your order, drop a text to the driver to show that you will be responsive to your app in case he needs to ask you questions. You do so by just texting him a simple “oke”

Next your go-jek driver would usually ask you: Sesuai Applikasi? = follow (the instructions on) the application? If you have ensured that the delivery address + order details are correct, reply Iya = yes…

I’ve heard people complain saying “why can’t they just follow what I indicated on my order? It’s a hassle to have to reply them”… Reason they do that is because there are some addresses which are not available to pin on the go-jek app hence some people just pin the nearest location and forget to write in their remarks the exact location… or some people have specific food requirements (non-spicy, no onions etc) that they did not specify but expect the drivers to ask…

I’ve heard people complain saying “why can’t they just follow what I indicated on my order? It’s a hassle to have to reply them”… Reason they do that is because there are some addresses which are not available to pin on the go-jek app hence some people just pin the nearest location and forget to write in their remarks the exact location… or some people have specific food requirements (non-spicy, no onions etc) that they did not specify but expect the drivers to ask…

If they call you and you do not know the language at all, just say "Saya tidak tau Bahasa Indonesia” = I don’t know indonesian language and “Text saya” = text me… so that he will type his questions in a chat and you can search it up on Google Translate

Some drivers will ask you if you would like to top up your Go-Pay as you would be able to get some perks if you top up through them, you can just reply “saya tidak mau” = I don’t want

If one of your food items has sold out at the restaurant/warteg, your driver will inform you, using the word “habis” = finished, you can then let him know what else you’d like or if you don’t want anything else just say “saya tidak mau yang lain” = I don’t want others…

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