5 Indonesian Greeting Etiquette and Manners

In this article, you will learn more about Indonesian Greeting Etiquette.

Greeting is a simple thing. If you meet someone then you will greet him/her. It is a natural things to do. But, greeting can become complex. Since every culture has their uniqueness, then you should know how to say your greeting in that particular culture.

For Indonesian, it should be easier to learn about this, since Indonesian people basically a friendly people. They usually treat each other with polite, especially if you are a stranger or foreigner. But, if you know how to connect with them, you will get respect. There are a lot of good things happen if Indonesian people give their respect to you.

There are some general impression to say your greetings. You can read more about it in common phrases Indonesian.

If you are looking a strict formulation or step-by-step procedure, then you will get confused. Indonesia consist of many ethnic. Every ethnic have their own characteristics. So, the best way for you is to know the general guidelines to greet Indonesian people. This is Indonesian Greeting Etiquette.

  1. Knows the situation

It is different between formal and informal meeting. In formal meeting, you should use the standard and basic greeting. But for informal occasion, you can say the greeting in shorter form.


  • Selamat pagi” (Good morning), this is for formal
    Met pagi”(Good morning), this is for informal
  • Apa kabar?” (How are you), this is for formal
    Pa kabar?”, this is for informal
  1. Use correct title for person

Beside of their name, Indonesian people also have their title in general. If you only meet your friend, then you can easily say your friend name when you say your greeting. But, if you talk to someone older, you should add their title. This is also applies to formal relation, such as talk to coworker at office. In some region, there are a specific title given to each people.


  • “Halo, Jaya!” This is a greeting for a friend.
  • “Halo, Pak Jaya!” Pak is title for male person (or older male person).
  • “Halo, Mas Jaya” Mas is title for Javanese male people.
  1. Give Good Gesture

Nice smile is a simple and proper gesture. By smiling, you show your good intention to talk. As the replies, Indonesian people will treat you nice.

If you can, you should give them good handshake. Do not give light handshake, since it will give a reluctance impression. But do not do it hard, it will give rude impression. And, never use your left hand. This is unpolite for Indonesian people.

If you already know the people, sometimes you can simply nod when you say your greeting to them. Usually this is part of Nonverbal Communication. You can read more in Verbal and Nonverbal Communication in Indonesia

  1. Speak Slowly but Sure

Indonesian people avoid anything in a hurry. So, if you say your greeting with fast, they think you do not want to meet them. By speak slowly, it can show your sincerity. You have to make sure that they accept your greeting and you have to see their replies to your greeting.

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This is not a complete guideline. But, this guideline can help you when you meet Indonesian people. At the end, if you feel that you do it with wrong, you still have one magic word. “Maaf, kalau saya salah” (I am sorry if I’m wrong). Say it with big smile. Trust me, you will be fine!

So, I hope when you already know Indonesian Greeting Etiquette, you have confidence to meet and talk with Indonesian people.