When you’re planning your trip to Bali, you’ll want to brush up on some Balinese phrases before you go!
Knowing some of the local languages can help you communicate with locals, and make your trip to Bali a little extra special.
Here are some of the top Balinese phrases that you should know before you embark on your journey to the island. I hope by knowing these, you can enjoy getting a bit closer to the Balinese people you meet – and impress them a little 😉
From greetings and everyday conversations to bargaining, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the streets of Bali! Grab your notebook, and let’s get started..
Rahajeng Semeng, Tengai, Wengi / Good morning, afternoon, night
ra-ha-jəŋ sə-məŋ/te-ŋai/ wə-’ŋi
‘Rahajeng‘ means ‘Good…’ followed by the relevant timepiece. This phrase can be used in both formal and informal situations.
Kenken Kabare / How are you
After saying ‘Hi’, start a conversation by saying ‘Kenken/ Engken Kabare?’. This is the most common phrase if you want to ask about how someone is doing. It can be used in a casual situation, with people who are the same age or you already know well.
Punapi Gatra e / How are you
With the same meaning, this version of ‘how are you’ is what you will use with an older person, or someone you must respect. In other words, it is for formal situations.
Becik-Becik Manten / I’m fine
bə-ci bə-ci man-ten
To answer how you are, you can say ‘becik-becik manten‘ or just ‘Becik-Becik‘ if you are answering a friend.
Matur Suksma / Thank you
Thank you is the best phrase to learn, even if it’s the only thing you know in traditional Balinese language. You can say ‘Matur Suksma’ or just ‘Suksma‘.
Suksma Mewali / You’re welcome
Impress your local Balinese acquaintances by returning their thanks with ‘Suksma mewali’.
Sira pesengane / What’s your name
Get to know some new Balinese friends by asking their name. As a formal phrase, this can be used with people you are new to meeting.
Wastan titiang / My name is …
Introduce yourself by saying ‘Wastan Titiang …’ followed by your name.
Ngudian / What are you doing
Instead of saying ‘Hey, what’s up?’, you can use ‘Ngudian?’. Short, and easy to say.
Dija / Where are you
While on the phone or talking to other people to ask for directions, you can say ‘Dija’. This word is quite casual, and can be used in any situation.
Aji Kuda Niki / How much is this
ah-jee koo-da nee-kee
While exploring the many amazing markets in Bali, take a chance to get an extra discount by asking for the price in Balinese 😉
Jagi kirang / Can I get it for less?
Put your bargaining skills to use with this quick phrase. Be sure you are being polite and not pushing for an unfair price.
Beneh / That’s right
To say yes or agree, you can use ‘Beneh‘.
The formal meaning for this phrase is wishing blessings from God onto the person. However, locals often use it as a greeting to say hello.
Tiang / I, Ragane / You
You can use a ‘Tiang‘ for yourself and ‘Ragane‘ for the person you are talking to.
The Balinese language is a lot different than the widely used Indonesian. It has a lot more social influence, with caste playing a big part in how you say things to different people.
Learning a few basic phrases will make you very popular with the locals, and may snag you some extra attention and benefits.
Try out a good morning or thank you, and build yourself up to the more conversational phrases.
Let us know how you get on!
Featured image: Ubud Organic Farm Market