To learn Indonesian greetings and civilities is very useful, as you will constantly be meeting with people, so it is polite to use the correct terms. In English we say 'Good morning’ or 'Good evening’ or ‘Good night’, depending on the time of the day. It’s the same in Indonesian

Good morning (5 – 11 am)
Selamat pagi
Good day (11am – 3 pm)
Selamat siang
Good afternoon (3 – 7 pm)
Selamat sore
Good evening (after dark)
Selamat malam
Good night (on retiring)
Selamat tidur


In the Indonesian culture it can be a sign of politeness not to accept an offer when it is first made. So don’t be offended by a refusal, just repeat and it will most likely be accepted.
Common civilities that you will use are:

Enjoy your drink
Selamat minum
Enjoy your meal
Selamat makan
Good bye (you’re leaving)
Selamat tinggal
Good bye (others leave, you’re staying)
Selamat jalan
Selamat datang
Good night
Selamat tidur
See you later
Sampai jumpa lagi

Selamat comes from the Arabic word, salam, and means, ‘may your action be blessed’. When this word is used with ‘morning’ or ‘evening’ then it translates into something like ‘Have a nice morning / evening’. Selamat is a word used quite often with other words.

In Indonesian there are two words for ‘please’. Tolong is used when you are making a request or asking someone to do something for you. If you are offering something to someone then you use silakan

please / help
Please shut the window
Tolong tutup jendelanya itu
Please enter
Silakan masuk

There are several words that can be used to say ‘Thank you’ or offer an apology

Thank you
Terima Kasih
You’re welcome
You’re welcome (colloquial)
Excuse me (passing in front of a person)
Pardon? (what did you say?)
I’m sorry (apology)

Forms of Address
There are several forms of address used in Indonesia. Most common is Bapak ‘Father’ and Ibu ‘Mother’. They are also used for situations that require a degree of respect or for formal situations, such as in government departments, for example. Saudara literally means ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ and can also be used to mean ‘you’. Kamu or adik can also be used.

Mr / Sir
Bapak or Pak
Mrs / Madam
Ibu or Bu

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