Featured article photo: Tegalalang Rice Terrace in Bali, Indonesia by Jamie Fenn (CC0 Licensed)
Here are 6 of the most popular greetings you will hear when you're in Indonesia. You don't necessarily have to respond to these greetings, most of the time a smile and a slight nod will suffice. Of course, if you like, you can use these phrases too to draw bigger smiles on the already-friendly Indonesian faces :)
Many Indonesian greetings involve the word Selamat. It's equivalent to the word "Good ..." in English when used in greetings.
Selamat datang means "Welcome". You'll most likely hear this when first stepping into a Indonesian hotel or a restaurant.
Selamat pagi is "Good morning". In a more casual setting, Pagi can be used instead of Selamat pagi. It's just like in English, where sometimes people simply say "Morning!" instead of "Good morning."
Siang means "noon" in Indonesian. In English, Selamat siang is closely equivalent to "Good afternoon", though not an exact translation, since this greeting is used only around noon, between the times of 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The times between 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. are when you will hear Selamat sore, meaning "Good afternoon".
You guessed it, Selamat malam means both "Good evening" or "Good night".
Selamat jalan is somewhat like the French phrase "Bon voyage", essentially meaning "Have a good journey".
Selamat tinggal is similar to Selamat jalan, though its meaning leans more towards "Goodbye" instead of "Have a good journey".
Bonus: Silakan, Terima kasih, Sama-sama
Aside from these 6 greetings, you will surely hear the following few phrases as well. The word Silakan will be often used by your waiter/waitress when bringing you the dishes you ordered. It means "Please, (enjoy)". To reply this gesture, you can say Terima kasih, meaning "Thank you". Often Terima kasih can be contracted to Makasih, a more informal and casual way to say the phrase. It's sort of like how "Thank you" is often contracted to "Thanks". A proper response to Terima kasih is Sama-sama, meaning "You're welcome".
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