Formal Greeting in Indonesian – Phrases – Gestures – Etiquette

Hi there, have you been traveled to Indonesia? If it is yes,  how are Indonesian’s peoples look like? Many visitors from any country said that Indonesian’s peoples are very humble. They do not hesitate to help the travelers that get lost. The last lesson, we have already talked about the list of cities in Indonesiangreet people in Indonesia, and even Indonesian phrases for travelers.

Now, we will begin to learn how to say the formal greeting in Indonesia? What should we say if we meet older people in Indonesia? Below here are the lists of what should you say if you meet the older people in Indonesia.

1. Gives smile

Gives your smile as usual then, say a formal greeting in Indonesian; Selamat Pagi (sounds like; suh – lah – mat pah-gee) say this if you want to greet them in the morning. In the afternoon you can say; Selamat Siang (sounds like; suh – lah – mat see – ahng). Say Selamat Siang at 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. Over that time, Indonesian’s people often say Selamat Sore (sounds like; suh – lah – mat – sor – ee).

People in Indonesia say Selamat Sore around 3 p.m until 06.00 p.m. After sunset, you must say Selamat Malam (good evening). How to say good night in Indonesian? Goodnight is a greeting that used before going to bed or sleep.  In Indonesia, you just say Selamat tidur (sounds like; suh – lah – mat tee- dur)

2. Shaking hands

After you greet the people, please do shake hands first (do not too firm, just touch). After that, say, halo pak or halo bu. Halo means hello and pak or bu means Mr. or Mrs. Place the words of excuse me or permisi if you want to ask them. However, if you see the young man or young woman you can greet them with mas or mbak.

Mas in Indonesian or mbak in Indonesian is used to greet young men or young women in Indonesia, especially in Java. Moreover, in the other city, they greet the young men, young women, even old people with a different name but it has the same meaning as mas or mbak, such as uda, unni, bli, and many more.

3. Asking

Asking how someone is doing; Apa kabar? (How are you?). The answer will be baik, sangat baik, baik- baik saja, it means good, very good and alright. Sometimes people that feeling not good they will say, tidak baik, saya sakit, tidak enak badan, and many more.

However, do not be hesitate to ask them for help; permisi, bisakah Anda membantu saya pak/bu/mas/mbak? Excuse me, could you help me Mr./Mrs/Ms? Then they will answer, saya bisa bantu kamu (I could help you). The word of Anda or beliau is used in the formal way this has the same meaning as kamu (you). 

4. Saying goodbye

So, at the first, you already know how to say hello in Indonesian with formal ways. Now it is time to know how to say goodbye in formal ways. Say Selamat tinggal (sounds like; suh – la – mat teen-gal) to say goodbye.

However, if you want to say goodbye and you want to go home or going somewhere, you must say Selamat jalan (sounds like; suh – la – mat jal-lan). However, if there is a hope to meet again you can say Sampai Jumpa (sounds like; sahm – pai – joom -pah). It means see you later.

The examples of how to say a formal greeting in Indonesian

  • Halo, Selamat pagi pak, Apa kabar? (Hello, good morning sir/Mr, how are you?)
  • Permisi, apakah benar Anda Bapak Budi? (Excuse me, Does it true that you are Mr. Budi?)
  • Mohon maaf, apakah ini arah yang benar menuju ke Gunung Bromo? (Pardon me, is this the right way to go to Mount Bromo?)
  • Selamat jalan, hati-hati. (Goodbye, be careful)
  • Selamat tinggal, sampai jumpa. (Goodbye, see you later)

Halo, Selamat pagi pak, Apa kabar? This first example shows that to say a formal greeting please say Mr./Sir/Mrs/Ms after greeting like this example; Halo, Selamat pagi pak. (Hello, good morning, sir.) Then, asking how someone is doing such as; Apa kabar? (how are you).

Next, if you want to make sure someone that the name is Mr. Budi, you could say, Permisi, apakah benar Anda Bapak Budi? (Excuse me, Does it true that you are Mr. Budi?) or asking direction when you get lost, you can say like this; Mohon maaf bapak, apakah ini arah yang benar menuju ke Gunung Bromo? (Pardon me, sir is this the right way to go to Mount Bromo?). The last, Selamat jalan, hati-hati. (Goodbye, be careful) and Selamat tinggal, sampai jumpa. (Goodbye, see you later). Selamat jalan and Selamat tinggal it used to say goodbye in a different way.

Hopefully, the above of formal greeting in Indonesian could help you how to greet older people, so do not ever to give up learning how to say a formal greeting in Indonesian and keep it practice over and over. Good luck.