Halo, apa kabar?
Any good traveler, backpacker or digital nomad knows that learning a bit of the local lingo will go far in ensuring you have a successful trip.
Luckily, a lot of Bali is catered to foreigners, with English being widely spoken across the island especially in hotels, restaurants and shops.
In Bali, Indonesian is the most commonly spoken language. It is incredibly easy to pick up with the grammar being super similar to English.
If you aren’t hanging out with locals during your stay, joining an Indonesian class will help develop your knowledge of the language.
Why Should Your Learn Indonesian
You will find that the majority of locals on the island, especially in the south, can speak at least a little English. This definitely isn’t true out in the more rural, traditional villages.
Even with a basic understanding of English, things can still get lost in translation. Sometimes, it’s hard for them to understand some words, the context, or simply can’t catch your accent.
Being in Bali and not speaking or understanding Bahasa Indonesia is totally feasible. But, if you plan to explore less touristy spots or live here permanently, we recommend you start learning Indonesian to avoid miscommunications.
Where to Learn Indonesian in Bali
You will find loads of Indonesian language classes in Bali. Some schools offer online Bahasa Indonesia courses, while others only have in-person sessions.
You could also learn Bahasa Indonesia one-on-one with an Indonesian language tutor, although this might be rather expensive as most tutors only offer private sessions.
It is important to pick a class that suits your learning requirements – everyone learns a little different. Here are some of our recommendations.
#1 Jembatan Bahasa Indonesian Language School
Jembatan Bahasa is a language school specialising in Indonesian.
They offer various programs depending on your learning purpose – be it for casual day to day conversation or business.
Their classes range from Rp1,400,000 (90 USD/140 AUD/86 EUR) for 20 hours of online, or regular on-site classes to Rp14,100,000 (896 USD/1,400 AUD/866 EUR) for the Indonesian for Specific Purposes (ISP) program.
The school is conveniently located in Tibubeneng, not too far from Canggu. Their 5-star Google reviews and 10 years of operation in the language-learning industry make them an easy option if you’re in Canggu and looking for a reliable place to learn Indonesian.
#2 Cinta Bahasa Indonesian Language School
Another school where you can learn Indonesian from professionally-trained teachers is Cinta Bahasa.
They have establishments in three different areas in Bali: Ubud, Sanur, and of course, Canggu.
Their 20-hour Beginner Group Course starts at Rp1,700,000 (108 USD/170 AUD/105 EUR), with the private option starting from Rp3,320,000 (211 USD/330 AUD/204 EUR).
You can choose to learn in private 1-on-1 sessions or group sessions.
If you are only visiting for a short time, their 2-hour crash course is a great option!
#3 Global Language Academy (GLA) Bali
GLA is a language academy located in Renon, Denpasar that provides foreign language courses including English, Korean, and Indonesian.
The academy offers three proficiency levels of Bahasa Indonesia, and every student is suggested to take an assessment test before they start learning.
They host five sessions per day, the earliest being at 10.30 am, the latest at 6.40 pm. Each session lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The Indonesian private courses range from Rp110,000 (7 USD/11 AUD/7 EUR) – Rp200,000 (13 USD/20 AUD/12 EUR) / hour depending on the level.
#4 IALF Bali
IALF hosts a wide range of Bahasa Indonesia courses for various levels, including the 2-week intensive language and culture program.
Their courses are semi-intensive and cover 40 hours of language training for 4 weeks. There is a free placement test, and a certificate on completion.
The on-site group session fee is Rp4,000,000 (255 USD/400 AUD/245 EUR), with classes taking place on Monday to Friday from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm or 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
Online Bahasa Indonesia courses are also available for learners who prefer to learn from the comfort of their homes. The IALF Bali garden campus is located in Denpasar.
#5 Bahasa Bule
Bahasa Bule uses a science-based teaching method, and fun approach to language learning with their mobile app.
The flexibility of taking your class from their private office, your favourite café, or online makes it your best option if a classroom set-up doesn’t work for you. In-home sessions are also available for those living in the Canggu area!
The course schedule can work around your availability, which is perfect for those who have a busy schedule to keep up with.
You could even try out their crash course if you want to test the waters before making the commitment to a full course (consisting of 10 lessons).
#6 Online Indonesian Language Tutor
You can expect to pay Rp100,000 (6.5 USD/10 AUD/6 EUR) to Rp350,000 (22 USD/35 AUD/22 EUR) per hour for your lesson, depending on the tutor’s teaching experience and the website’s platform fee.
Most tutors offer hourly lessons and flexible learning arrangements, so it is fairly easy to manage your schedule and learn at your own pace.
The downside is that since the course is provided independently by a tutor, you will have to take a separate test from an official establishment or language school if you wish to get a certificate of your Indonesian language proficiency.
Whether you’re on holiday or staying on the island long term, learning Indonesian will give you the chance to see a deeper insight into Indonesian culture.
There are many expressions in Indonesian that don’t convey the same meaning in English, and understanding the language is the only way to enjoy the utmost Bali-living experience.
Besides, Indonesians always love it when foreigners know how to speak their language – even just a little bit!
If you are curious and want to speak more than “halo”, “apa kabar” and “terima kasih”, joining a Bahasa Indonesia class is a must!
Featured image: IALF Bali