Giving Directions in Indonesian – Examples – Conversation

Malu bertanya, sesat di jalan or hesitate/embarrassed to ask, you may get lost.

That is a very popular Indonsesian Proverbs with English Equivalent that related to Life Lesson. However, what if you were placed to give directions in Indonesian? Of course you need to know and understand about Giving Direction in Indonesian. Therefore, let’s go learn about it.

Read also:

Important Phrases for Directions in Indonesian 

Before we move to the examples, here are phrases related to give directions and how to pronounce it.

  • Directions = arah/petunjuk [ɑ’rɑh/pə’tunjʊk]
  • Turn = belok [be’lok]/belokan [be’lo’kan]/putaran [pu’ta’ran]
  • Go straight = lurus [lu’rus]
  • Left = kiri [ki’ri]
  • Right = kanan [kɑ’nɑn]
    turn left = belok kiri [be’lok ki’ri]
    turn right = belok kanan [be’lok kɑ’nɑn]
  • close = dekat [də’kɑt]
  • close to/near = dekat [də’kɑt]
  • far = jauh [jɑ’uh]
  • U-turn = putar balik [pu’tɑr bɑ’lik]
  • in front of = depan [də’pɑn]
  • behind = belakang [bə’lɑkɑŋ]
  • opossite = seberang [sə’brɑŋ]
  • next to = sebelah/samping [sə’bə’lɑh/sɑmpiŋ]
  • in/at/on = di [di]
  • side = sisi/samping [si’si/sɑmpiŋ]
  • after = setelah/sesudah [sə’tə’lɑh/sə’su’dɑh]
  • before = sebelum [sə’bə’lum]
  • road/street = jalan (n) [jɑ’lɑn]
  • roundabout = bundaran [bundɑrɑn]
  • (get) in = masuk [mɑ’suk]
  • exit = keluar [kə’lu’ɑr]
  • take = ambil [ɑmbil]
    *take a left = ambil kiri [ɑmbil ki’ri]
      take a right = ambil kanan [ɑmbil kɑ’nɑn]
  • main road = jalan utama, jalan besar, jalan protokol [jɑ’lɑn u’tɑmɑ/jɑ’lɑn bə’sɑr/jɑ’lɑn pro’to’kol]
  • alternative road = jalan alternatif [jɑ’lɑn ɑltərnɑ’tif]
  • alley = gang [gaŋ]
    [sometimes they used jalan tikus [jɑ’lɑn ti’kus] (literal meaning = rat road) to very narrow road
  • traffic light = lampu lalu lintas [lampu lalu lintas]
    *sometimes people use lampu merah (red light) to mention traffic light
  • traffic sign = rambu lalu lintas [rambu lalu lintas]
  • flyover = jalan layang/jembatan layang [ja‘lan la‘yaŋ/jəmba’tan la‘yaŋ]
  • underpass = jalan bawah tanah (or is not translated)
  • highway =  tol [tol]
  • fast lane = jalur cepat [ja’lur cə’pat]
  • slow lane = jalur lambat [ja’lur lambat]
  • T-junction/Y-junction = pertigaan [pərtiga’an]
  • crossroads/four-way intersections = perempatan [pər’əmpat’an

Now, let’s move on to how to use it in a sentence.

After knowing several terms, let’s implement it into a complete directions guide. Here is a simple example about giving directions.

Example one on Giving Directions in Indonesian

  • Question :
    – Bagaimana caranya menuju Jalan Senayan?
  • Answer
    – Kamu lurus di Jalan Asia-Afrika.
    – Ketemu lampu merah belok kiri, masuk ke jalur cepat,
    – Sampai perempatan belok kanan
    – Lurus terus ikutin jalan sampai keluar ke jalan besar.
    – Itu Jalan Senayan, ada plang jalannya


  • Question
    – How to get Senayan street?
  • Answer
    – You just need go straight to Asia-Afrika Street.
    – You will find traffic light, just turn left, then get into the fast lane
    – After that, you’ll find a crossroad, then turn right
    – Go straight forward, follow the road until you get out into the main road.
    – That is Senayan street, there is a street sign there. 

Example two on Giving Directions in Indonesian

  • Question
    – Di mana letak Museum Fatahillah?
  • Answer
    – Ada di daerah Kota Tua, ikuti saja Jalan Harmoni ini
    – Setelah ketemu rumah sakit, mulai ambil kiri
    – Nanti ada pertigaan, belok kanan ke arah Museum Wayang
    – Museum Fatahillah ada di samping Kantor Pos setelah Museum Wayang, di seberang Museum Seni Rupa


  • Question
    – Where is the Fatahillah Museum?
  • Answer
    – It is in the Old Town area, follow this Harmoni Street
    – After you found a hospital, start to take a left
    – There will be a T-junction, turn right to the Puppet Museum
    – Museum Fatahillah is located next to the Post-Office, right after the Puppet Museum, opposite of Fine Art Museum

Notes : Keep practice and you will get familiar with it.

More to read : Traditional Indonesian Greeting Etiquette and Asking Questions in Indonesian

More to Know about Giving Directions in Indonesian!

As you know, Indonesian is a very diverse society. Even though most Indonesian people will give directions in previously mentioned way, there is a very different approach to give directions in Central Java or Yogyakarta region. In fact, people outside those regions also unfamiliar with it.

Because the ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘after’, ‘before’, ‘side’, ‘behind’, and so on are very relative (based on our previous position), in Yogyakarta and Central Java they use cardinal direction (North, South, East, West) as their exact direction. It is also supported with the popular landmark.

For example, as Yogyakarta is located in the South-est side of Java Island, there are two critical and exact landmark, which are Mount Merapi in the North side and Parangtritis beach in the South side. On the other hand, in Boyolali (Central Java), which located in the North of Yogyakarta, the Mount Merapi is in the South Side. What I’m trying to say, if you are the local, it is an automatic way to remember the cardinal direction. But, if you are a non-local, just try to remember the landmark. It is sometimes used in big city, such as Jakarta, but it is just not popular.

But, let’s learn a little about it.

  • North = Utara (Lor in Javanese)
  • South = Selatan (Kidul in Javanese)
  • West = Barat (Kulon in Javanese)
  • East = Timur (Wetan in Javanese)

*because it is in Javanese majority area, sometimes people are more comfortable using Javanese although they could speak Indonesian)

(rarely used)

  • Southeast = Tenggara
  • Barat Daya = Southwest
  • Barat Laut = Northwest
  • Timur Laut = Northeast 


  • Question
    – Pak, Mal Malioboro ke mana ya?
  • Answer
    – Kamu ke arah Barat sampai Mirota kampus
    – Nanti ketemu Tugu Yogyakarta ke Selatan
    – Setelah itu ada putaran, nanti ambil arah ke Selatan
    – Pintu masuk malnya ada di Timur toko roti


  • Question
    – Sir, where is the Malioboro mall?
  • Answer
    – You need to go to the West until Mirota Kampus
    – Then, you will find Tugu Yogyakarta, go to the South direction
    – After that, you need to turn, then drive to the South
    – The mall gate is in the East side of a bakery

I know there is not a really easy task to digest all of it. But, the more you try, you will master it faster. Then, Giving Directions in Indonesian will be just piece of cake. Nonetheless, to enhance your skill, I also recommend you to read these following articles. Good luck and break a leg!