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Is It Safe to Travel to Indonesia If I Can Only Speak English?

by Tanti Karina

Is it safe to travel to Indonesia if I can only speak English? or Should I learn Bahasa Indonesia before I arrive in Indonesia?

As an English speaking tourist, these kind of questions may crossed your mind when you are planning to go to Bali or somewhere else, whether you are on vacation or doing some business in Indonesia.

Here are some information and tips you need to know about Indonesia.

Indonesia is a multicultural country. Located between two oceans, Hindia and Pacific Ocean, also two continents, Asia and Australia. Having more than 13.000 islands, there are various of tribes so you may find Bahasa Indonesia used widely. Indonesia use Bahasa Indonesia as official language to unify the people, so it may be reason that English become second or even third language.

Actually, English has been taught in schools but lack of practice and implementation in daily activities become a barrier for people to improve their English skills.

Based on a survey, Indonesia ranked 32th in English proficiency, lower than other South Asia countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines.

But don’t worry, awareness of English is increasing in many cities, so it won’t be a big deal if you travel in big cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, or Surabaya because most of metropolitan people know English well. In Bali, English is even used more often in term of business and tourism.

Known as friendly and warm-hearted people, Indonesian are very welcome and ready to help anytime you need, until you go to a small city or village, where you may don’t understand their language. Then, the safest thing to do is to learn some basics Bahasa Indonesia. With various sources of learning, sure you can learn it easily.

Here are some ways to learn Bahasa Indonesia while you visit Indonesia

1. Sign up online courses

Thanks to Internet, we can access and learn everything, including Bahasa Indonesia.

You can find some free online courses such as masteringbahasa.com These websites offer you lessons and interactive quiz so that you can learn faster.

  1. Download an app

Are you busy or commuting? We recommend mobile app such as “Learning Indonesia” or “In 24 Hours Learn Indonesian” .

They are more flexible. With the audio features, you can always learn while on bus, getting around the cities, or even relaxing in beach.

  1. Engage more with Indonesian or locals

To be more natural and fluent, you can practice with your Indonesia friends and locals.

Try to start simple conversation in every possible situations such as greetings, ordering things, asking for directions will be appreciated well. Do not afraid to make mistakes. As exchange, you can teach them some words or phrases in your language. They will be excited.

  1. Watch Youtube traveling videos

You can watch and download the free tutorial videos about Bahasa Indonesia from several resources. It started from basics to advance phrases that will be helpful to you. 

  1. Listen to music, watch movies or TV shows in Bahasa.

By doing these activities, you can try your pronunciation. Easy tips: When watching a movie, start with genres you are interested in, turn the Bahasa subtitles on, and pause the phrase or sentence you haven’t understand yet. For music, try to pick pop or jazz as much as possible, it would be easier to catch the words than another genres.

Here are more to explore:

Another good news is that Bahasa Indonesia is super-easy to learn! Why?

  • It written in Latin so you don’t have to memorize those complicated alphabets.
  • No verb changing. Unlike English, it has no differences between past and present, so forget the verb changing.
  • No tonal sounds like in Chinese, or even grammatical gender like in French.

See, you will be astonished at how quick you improve in just few times.

As said before, Indonesia consist of many tribes so you may find Indonesia speak Bahasa with different accent, just like British and American accent. Don’t worry, they still has same meaning. Another suggestions, you can try to learn some useful words such as directions, colors, weather, etc.

Here are more to explore:

Here is some practical phrases in English and Bahasa

  1. My name is = Nama saya
  2. How are you = Apa kabar
  3. Good morning = Selamat pagi
  4. I am fine = Saya baik-baik saja
  5. Excuse me = Permisi
  6. Sorry = Maaf
  7. Thank you = Terima kasih
  8. Please = Tolong
  9. What time is it = Jam berapa sekarang
  10. I come from = Saya berasal dari

So, are you a traveler planning a vacation in Indonesia? If lucky, you can get the best price when you can speak Bahasa.

Is it safe to travel to Indonesia if I can only speak English? The answer is Yes!

At last, is it safe to travel in Indonesia if you can only speak English? Definitely  yes! No more worries, you will have safe and enjoyable trip while mastering a new language at the same time.

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