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March 10, 2023

Balinese Language: Learn the Common Phrases

The Balinese language, which is sometimes referred to as Basa Bali, is the traditional language that is spoken by the Balinese people who live on the Indonesian island of Bali. Visitors to the island would do well to familiarize themselves with at least a few common phrases before arriving. The lexicon and pronunciation of the language are distinctive unto itself. In this piece, we will examine several frequent phrases used in the Balinese language for a variety of contexts.

What are some common phrases in the Balinese language that I should know?
What are some common phrases in the Balinese language that I should know?

This article is a comprehensive answer to the common question frequently asked by the first-timers to Bali, “What are some common phrases in the Balinese language that I should know?”


Greetings are an essential component of Balinese culture and play a vital role in day-to-day interactions. “Om Swastiastu,” which literally translates to “peace and greetings from God,” is the customary way of saying hello. This remark can be used to greet someone of any age or gender, regardless of their social level. It is a gesture of reverence and awareness that the presence of the divine can be found in everything.

The traditional Indian greeting “Namaste” is also widely used today. It was taken from the Hindu religion. It means “I bow to the divine in you” in both English and Sanskrit. This is a common greeting heard in yoga courses and other types of spiritual organizations.

You can welcome someone in a less formal manner by saying “Sugeng enjing” for good morning, “Sugeng siang” for good afternoon, or “Sugeng malam” for good evening. These phrases translate to “good morning,” “good afternoon,” and “good evening,” respectively. These phrases are typical examples of those that can be heard in regular conversation.

Thank You

The act of expressing thankfulness is regarded as a significant and admirable quality in Balinese culture. “Suksma” is the most frequent way to express thanks, and it is a straightforward and heartfelt manner of expressing appreciation for someone’s help. You can say “thank you very much” in a more formal manner by saying “Matur suksma,” which translates to “thank you very much.”


It is essential to speak in a courteous manner when making a request of someone. “Pidan” is the word used to express gratitude in Balinese. You may use the phrase “Pidan, air” to request something as simple as a glass of water, for instance. This demonstrates that you are making a request, rather than a demand, in a respectful manner.

Excuse Me

You can say “Mangkin tiang dados” to someone if you need to grab their attention or if you want to ask for permission to pass by. This is a courteous technique to catch someone’s attention by saying “excuse me,” which is the literal translation of this phrase.

How are You?

It is normal practice in Balinese culture to inquire about the health of another person as a method to demonstrate concern and care for that person. “Napi kabare?” literally translates to “How are you?” and is the most common phrase to inquire about someone’s well-being. You may question someone, “Kabare nyeneng?” which translates to “Are you happy?” to find out if they are content.


When going shopping in Bali, it is essential to have a basic command of the local language in order to haggle over pricing and ask for directions. These are some phrases that are frequently used:

“Niki becik?” Is it good?
“Niki duur” – It’s expensive.
“Niki rada duur” – It’s a bit expensive.
“Murah” – It’s cheap.
“Sakadi mana?” Where can I find it?
“Apa punyamu?” – And what do you get?
“Ja, suud” – Yes, it is completed.
“Sing ken ken” – It’s okay, don’t worry.


When you first meet someone new, it is proper etiquette to both introduce oneself and inquire about the person’s name. “What’s your name?” can be asked of someone in Balinese by using the phrase “Sing mawasta.” You can introduce yourself to others by first saying “Tiang mawasta,” then following it up with your name. For example, “Tiang mawasta Komang.”


It is helpful to know basic words if you are going to be traveling around Bali because you will be able to ask for directions and interact with drivers. These are some phrases that are frequently used:

“Sakadi mana?” – Where can I find it?
“Niki ke …” – Is it the way to …
“Berapa?” – How much?
“Berapa jauh?” – How far?
“Jalan-jalan.” – Wander around.


Food plays a significant role in the culture of the Balinese people, and tourists have a wide variety of traditional meals from which to choose. While going out to eat in Bali, it is helpful to know certain phrases in the local language so that you can order food and drinks. These are some phrases that are frequently used:

“Makan siang.” – Lunch.
“Makan malam.” – Dinner.
“Minum.” – Drink.
“Air putih.” – Plain water.
“Nasi goreng.” – Fried rice.
“Mie goreng.” – Fried noodles.
“Sate.” – grilled meat that is served on a stick.
“Babi guling.” – Spit-roasted pig.
“Sambal.” – Hot sauce.
“Sampun.” – Completed.


The culture of Bali is one that is constantly celebrating and holding festivals throughout the year. The following is a list of phrases that are likely to be spoken during these events:

“Selamat hari raya.” – Happy holiday.
“Metu.” – Going out.
“Ngaturang ayah.” – “Give offerings to the gods.”
“Ngaben.” – Cremation ceremony.
“Odalan.” – Temple festival.
“Nyepi.” – The day of silence.

When traveling to Bali, it can be beneficial to pick up some basic words in the local language to help you communicate with locals. It demonstrates respect for the local culture and has the potential to help you connect with the people of Bali on a deeper level. These phrases can help you manage everyday interactions with ease, whether you’re shopping in a market, dining at a local restaurant, or going to a festival. They can also be used in any of those situations. Make it a point to go into every interaction with the people of Bali keeping an open mind and a teachable spirit, and you will find that it is very easy to form connections with them that are important.

Also, becoming fluent in Balinese might assist you in better comprehending the local culture as well as the traditions that are practiced there. Several Balinese customs and beliefs, including their deep connection to Hinduism, are represented in the language. Bali has a rich cultural legacy that is closely related to the Hindu faith. For instance, in Hinduism, the sound “om” is considered to be sacred, and the term “om” is frequently utilized in the greetings and prayers of the Balinese.

In addition to this, learning a few phrases of the native Balinese language will also assist you in developing positive relationships with the people who live there. By demonstrating an interest in the Balinese people’s language and culture, you may assist to craft a travel experience that is more genuine and important to you. The Balinese people are noted for their friendliness and hospitality.

Even while many people in Bali do speak English, especially in regions frequented by tourists, it is important to remember that it is always polite to try to communicate with them in their own language whenever possible. It demonstrates that you are making an effort to connect with the culture of the area and can assist in bridging any language difficulties that may be there.

When you go to Bali, it will be much more enjoyable for you if you are able to speak a few phrases in the local language, which are called common phrases. It demonstrates that you appreciate the local culture, it assists you in better understanding the customs and traditions, and it can assist you in establishing important ties with the local people. Hence, before going on your next trip, why not put in the effort to learn a few phrases in the local language? It might surprise you how significantly it improves the quality of your trip experience.

Tips to Learn Basic Balinese Language

It is true that learning a new language can be difficult, but if you approach it in the proper way, it can also be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. The following are some pointers that will assist you in learning Balinese phrases:

Begin with the fundamentals: Learn some basic words like greetings, numerals, and popular expressions to get started studying the language. When you have a firm grasp on these, you’ll be ready to move on to more difficult sentences.

Practice, practice, and more practice: Repeatedly expose yourself to the language by speaking in Balinese as often as possible, even if it’s just to yourself. The more you train, the more self-assured you’ll feel in your abilities.

Listen to native speakers: To obtain a feel for the pronunciation and intonation of Balinese, it is helpful to listen to native speakers of the language either on television, in movies, or in person.

Use language learning applications: There are several language learning programs available, such as Duolingo or Babbel, that can help you learn Balinese phrases at your own pace. Using these apps can be a very effective way to learn the language.

Try enrolling in a language class: If you want to acquire a deeper grasp of the language and culture of Bali, one option is to enroll in a language class either in Bali or online.

The greatest approach to learn a language is to immerse yourself in the culture of the country where the language is spoken. Spend some time in Bali, engage in conversation with locals, and make as much use as you can of your Balinese language skills.

To summarize, prior to your trip to Bali, it is highly recommended that you familiarize yourself with some basic words in the Balinese language. Doing so will significantly enhance your trip. Not only does it demonstrate an appreciation for the local traditions and customs, but it also makes it easier to form genuine ties with the people who live there. Because the people of Bali are so famous for their friendliness and generosity, learning a few key phrases in their language will help you have a trip that is more genuine and one that you will never forget.

Learning a new language can be difficult, but if you approach it in the correct way and have the appropriate frame of mind, it can also be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. If you spend some time being familiar with some basic Balinese phrases before your next vacation to Bali, you can ensure that you will have a positive impact, both on the people you meet and the experiences you have there.

Balinese Language v.s. Indonesian Language

In spite of the fact that Bali is a part of Indonesia, the Balinese language is not the same as the Indonesian language. This is an essential point to keep in mind. The Austronesian language family encompasses numerous languages that are spoken across Southeast Asia, Oceania, and parts of Africa. Balinese is one of the languages that belongs to this family. On the other hand, Indonesian is a standardized form of Malay, a language that has been extensively influenced by the Dutch language as a result of Indonesia’s past as a Dutch colony. This is due to the fact that Indonesia was formerly a colony of the Netherlands.

There are a few persons on the island of Bali who do not speak Indonesian, despite the fact that practically everyone else does. For instance, some people who are very old or who live in remote places or villages may never have had the chance to learn Indonesian. This could also be true for persons who are very young. In situations like these, it might be very helpful to have a working knowledge of basic phrases in the Balinese language so that you can communicate successfully.

It is always welcomed when tourists make an attempt to acquire some of the local language, even though English is the predominant language spoken in locations that are popular with tourists. Even if you just know a few phrases, showing respect for the culture and helping to develop a deeper relationship with the locals can be accomplished through the use of the local language.

Although though the Balinese language is not commonly used outside of Bali, it is still an important aspect of Balinese identity and culture. This is something that should be noted. The rich cultural heritage of Bali and its people can be better appreciated by tourists if they take the time to learn a few words of the local language, the Balinese Language.

In a nutshell, despite the fact that Bali is a part of Indonesia, the Balinese language is not the same as the Indonesian language. There are some people on the island of Bali who do not speak Indonesian, particularly the elderly and those who live in more rural areas. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. Visitors visiting Bali would do well to study some basic Balinese words in order to improve their ability to communicate and show respect for the culture of the island.

It is essential to keep in mind that Indonesia is an extremely ethnically and culturally varied country, with hundreds of distinct ethnic groups, each of which has its own language and way of life. Because of this, even the islands that are geographically closest to Bali, such as Java to the west and Lombok to the east, each have their own own culture, customs, and languages.

Java, for instance, is the homeland of the Javanese people, who are also the language’s primary speakers. The Malayo-Polynesian language family includes both Javanese and Balinese as its members. This means that Javanese and Balinese are related to one another. The two languages, on the other hand, are not mutually intelligible, which means that a native speaker of any language would not necessarily be able to comprehend the other.

On the other side, the Sasak people, who only occupy Lombok, are the predominant population and are the only ones who speak the Sasak language. Sasak is another language that belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian language family, but unlike Balinese, it is not mutually understandable with the language spoken in Bali.

The rich cultural heritage of Indonesia includes a wide variety of aspects, including its many languages. Although while it can be difficult for visitors from other countries to manage all of the varied languages and customs, this is precisely what makes Indonesia such a fascinating and one-of-a-kind place to travel through.

In conclusion, despite the fact that Bali is a part of Indonesia, it is essential to keep in mind that there are a great many distinct languages and cultures present within the nation. Even islands that are close to one another, like as Java and Lombok, each have their own unique culture, traditions, and languages. Visitors to Indonesia can acquire a more profound appreciation for the nation and its people if they make an effort to comprehend and honor the country’s many cultural and linguistic differences.

Other Ethnics in Bali with Their Own Languages

Due to the fact that it draws in millions of tourists from all over the world each year, Bali has long been recognized as the “tourism capital” of Indonesia. In addition as a result of this, Bali has become an appealing destination for people from other parts of Indonesia who are looking for employment possibilities. As a direct consequence of this, Bali has evolved into a cultural and ethnic melting pot due to the presence of numerous distinct ethnic groups.

Individuals from Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and other parts of Indonesia have relocated to Bali in order to find employment in the tourism business as well as in other industries such as construction and agriculture. Because of the inflow of people into the island, there has been a mingling of different languages and cultures, both of which can be heard and seen all throughout the island.

Even though Balinese is still the most widely spoken language in Bali, it is not unusual to hear other languages, such as Javanese, Sundanese, or even Indonesian mixed with diverse dialects, being spoken there as well. In addition, many people in Bali have taken words and phrases from other languages and incorporated them into their own, particularly those that pertain to hospitality and tourism.

If you overhear someone speaking a language that you are unable to place, this does not necessarily indicate that they are speaking Balinese. It’s likely that they’re speaking one of the numerous other languages that are common in Indonesia, or possibly a hybrid language that combines elements of several other tongues. Nonetheless, regardless of their linguistic origin, the people of Bali are generally quite open and friendly towards visitors. Because of this, Bali is an excellent area to explore and learn about the several distinct cultures that call Bali home.

Category: Bali FAQ

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