Indonesian Words for Hello – Phrases – Meaning

Selamat Pagi! Hi! Hope you’re all ready for another new lesson on MasteringBahasa, your one-stop spot for learning Indonesian easy and fast. We can’t deny the importance of making conversations in Indonesian to speed up your learning. It’s also a great way to make new relations when you travel around this country.

Indonesian people are very open and friendly to newcomers, so you don’t need to hesitate to talk to them! Without you realizing, you might actually be making a new friend as well as expanding your language skills.

The first step in starting a conversation is surely to greet the person whom you’ll be speaking to. Fortunately for you, greetings in Indonesia don’t necessarily contain polite or formal variations as in some other Asian languages, in other words it’s more flexible with less strict rules to follow through.

Indonesian Words for Hello

However, you’ll need to choose the appropriate greeting based on the time of day.

Halo/Hello

  • This greeting is most often used when answering the phone. It has the same informal meaning as English.

Hai/Hi

  • Spoken informally around young people and has the same meaning in English. You can use this when you encounter someone familiar or close to you or when you just arrived for a hangout or gathering with some close friends on an informal occasion.

Apa kabar?/How are you?

  • Just like in English, starting by asking someone how they’re doing are great words to start a friendly conversation with an Indonesian. Usually, if you’re asked this question, you can respond by saying Baik (Good), Luar biasa (Awesome).

Good Morning/Selamat Pagi

  • Spoken from sunrise until about 11 AM
  • Also read:

Good Afternoon (Part I)/Selamat Siang

Good Afternoon (Part II)/Selamat Sore

  • Spoken from 2 PM until sunset

Good Evening/Selamat Malam

Good Night/Selamat Tidur

  • Spoken to someone going to sleep

Selamat Datang/Welcome

  • This greeting works best for when you’re hosting an event or welcoming a guest who is just arriving to a certain place.

Selamat Tinggal/Goodbye

  • This is used when sending a long farewell to a person being left behind. In this case, the person departing expresses these words to the person staying behind. “Tinggal” actually means “stay” literally. 

Selamat Jalan/Goodbye

  • This is used when sending a long farewell to a person leaving. In this case, the person staying behind expresses these words to the person departing. In Indonesian, jalanmeans to “travel” or “go”.

Sampai jumpa/See you later

  • Spoken to someone who will return shortly, unlike Selamat Jalan and Selamat Tinggal.

Sampai jumpa nanti/ See you again

  • Spoken to someone whom you will meet later that same day

These greeting phrases are one of the useful Indonesian conversation phrases. There are some different Indonesian words for Hello. Aside from these phrases, you might also want to check out how to say sorry in Indonesian  , how to say thank you and how to say have a great day.

Another pro tip is that you don’t need to think about a complex set of titles for people of different age nor gender. The way to greet Indonesians is generally the same for everyone regardless of their age nor social status. Don’t forget to handshake as well with your right hand!

For Indonesians, gentle handshakes are a gesture of respect and courtesy and we really value that in meeting people. Learn more about Indonesian greeting etiquette.