[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own.]
Are you planning to travel to Bali someday? Or maybe somewhere in Indonesia? Then, you need to learn Indonesian, at least, you need to know how to say “thank you” in Indonesia.
I thought learning at least the basic of the local language is a good intention. Fortunately, as Indonesian citizens, we have nearly learned some English at school, and some of them have learned to speak quite well. However, if you’re learning at least the basics of the Indonesian language, it will benefit your experience when exploring various tourist places in Indonesia.
If you’re planning to visit Bali this year, or perhaps, someday – and wish to stay in Bali, there is no better way than learning Indonesian to truly integrate into Bali life. Bali is such a unique place with an ancient culture there many travelers visit the island and explore the beautiful beaches, sacred temples, and mountains.
As a local, I will absolutely love you for being able to speak Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language) and this ability will give you a level of respect from locals. And this proves that you’re making your way into Balinese culture.
Steps you need to learn Indonesian
Start from the basic Indonesian phrases
Thanks to technology, there are a bunch of websites or videos that give you free lessons on basic Indonesian phrases. I usually watch videos on Youtube whenever I want to learn some basic languages from other countries. You can also find some language learning apps on your phone or hire an interpreter if you are in need of someone professional to teach you Indonesian formal speech.
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Engage with locals and practice with them
Do you speak your native language with perfect grammatical structure? Or perhaps with a formal speech at all times? Of course, you don’t! So you don’t need to expect to be able to speak that way with Indonesian right from the start. The same as when I start learning English, I mixed up the grammatical structure a lot!
To perfect your accent, you can ask “How do I say this in Indonesian?”, or “How do I pronounce this word in Indonesian”. They are some examples of you engaging with Indonesian around you to help you learn. Practice what you’ve learned with them and try to mimic how they pronounce the words you know. If you make it clear and stick to it, then the locals will do their best to make sure you’re saying things correctly.
The more you sound like a local, the more locals will treat you like a friend and less like a tourist. However, the locals are not your teacher so it’s best not to ask too many questions about Indonesian language structure, save those for your Bahasa Indonesia teacher.
Hangout where the locals go
Certain areas in Bali have different prices. For example, tourist areas like Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu might be more expensive than the Denpasar area (the capital city of Bali – where most locals live). However, prices in some places haven’t changed in years, as long as you know where exactly to go to find things and know how to bargain.
It’s better to ask the locals where they go to the shop or you can ask to go along with them. At the traditional market, you need to get up early to pick the freshest produce at prices that are well below other stores. The locals know where to go, so ask them.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and congratulate yourself often
I made a lot of grammatical errors when writing an article, emails, or social media captions in English. Even after working as a translator for years, I still, until now can’t avoid that. When I make those mistakes and get misunderstood, I don’t take it too personally, and laugh it off!
You see, although there are many words in the Indonesian language that have been borrowed from English, there are also others that are completely unique to Bahasa Indonesia. It will take some time to incorporate some Indonesian words into a sentence and you may become confused, but that’s ok. Forgive yourself and when you’re able to make a sentence, congratulate yourself!
Visit other islands of Indonesia
Although I haven’t visited many islands in Indonesia, I believe you can enjoy this huge and beautiful country with hundreds of amazing cultures. Indonesian people are welcoming and friendly everywhere you go, so start planning to visit there rest of Indonesia outside of Bali. The basic Indonesian languages you learn in Bali will be appreciated wherever in Indonesia you go.
Have you visited Bali before? Or perhaps Bali or Indonesia is listed on your dream place to visit someday? I’d like to know your story below.