How to Say Hello in Indonesian & 12 More Important Greetings

Learning how to say “Hello” in Indonesian is a good first step in learning the language itself. It is also handy when you find yourself visiting Indonesia, knowing how to greet in their language will make your interactions with locals much more fun and meaningful! After learning how to greet, perhaps put some time aside to also learn how to say thank you in Indonesian . Maybe broaden your greeting spectrum entirely by figuring out how to say hello in 100 languages!

Anyways, first things first are learning how to greet in Indonesian and this article was created to be your guide and help you do just that!

How to Greet in Indonesian

source: Andrea Piacquadio, pexels.


Greeting in Indonesian is rather simple!

Greeting in Indonesian doesn’t have a formal or an informal way, nor are there titles of respect when speaking to different people. The greeting is the same for everyone, regardless of who they are, their age, gender, etc. It must be noted that you should greet elders first without maintaining strong eye contact and that there are certain greetings that can only be used during a certain time in the day (more on that below).

Hello – Selamat (suh-lah-mat)

All Indonesian greetings begin with Selamat, which roughly means happy, good, and peaceful, and is coupled with other words to create new greetings.

Try to integrate this greeting into your brain, it can come in useful if you struggle to remember which time-specific greeting to use.


The following greetings are used during a certain time of day. The “correct” time for these greetings is debatable depending on who you ask and in what region of Indonesia you find yourself in. You will know that you got it right when someone used the same greeting back to you, or wrong when they respond with a different one.

Selamat can be left out in very informal situations, which is with close friends or family. For example, instead of saying Selamat Pagi, which means “good morning”, you would just say Pagi which is just “Morning”.

Good morning – Selamat Pagi (suh-lah-mat pah-gee)

Selamut is coupled with pagi in this greeting, which directly translates to “morning”. Together it means “Good morning” or “Peaceful/Happy morning”. This greeting is used to greet people in the mornings up until roughly 11 am or 12 pm.

Good day – Selamat siang (suh-lah-mat see-ahng)

The word siang translates to “day” and when coupled with *Selamat, *****it means “good day”. This greeting is used to greet people after 11 am or 12 pm until about 4 pm.

Good afternoon – Selamat sore (suh-lah-mat sor-ee)

The word sore directly translates to “afternoon”, so Selamat sore means “good afternoon”. This greeting is used from about 4 pm until 6 pm or 7 pm, it depends on the daylight.

Good evening – Selamat Malam (suh-lah-mat mah-lahm)

Malam is translated to “night” or “evening” in English, so Selamat Malam means “good night” or simply “good evening”. This greeting is used after sunset or around 6 or 7 pm.

The phrase Selamat petang (suh-lah-mat puh-tong) can be used to say “good evening” in formal situations. This greeting is more common in Bahasa Malaysia, though. Also, selamat tidur (suh-lah-mat tee-dure) can be used to say **“good evening” strictly when someone or you are going to bed/sleep.

Other Important Indonesian Greetings

source: pikisuperstar, freepik.


Just saying hello isn’t the only way we can greet someone! Below we have listed more ways you can greet someone in Indonesian.

If you struggle to study these greetings, consider taking a step back and do some research on the best way to learn a language

How are you? – Apa kabar? (ah-pah kah-bar)

Funnily enough, the direct translation of apa kabar is actually “what news” or “what’s the news”, but this phrase is used to ask how someone is as a form of greeting. A response to that could either be baik which means “Well” or “good”, which can sometimes be said twice, or tidak bagus/tidak baik which means someone isn’t doing well!


  • You: apa kabar?

    “How are you?”

    Person: baik, baik.

    “Good, good”

  • You: apa kabar?

    “How are you?”

    Person: tidak bagus ☹️

    “Not good”

  • You: apa kabar?

    “How are you?”

    Person: saya sakit

    “I am sick” This person should say Selamat tinggal and then go see a doctor or go to bed!

How is your day? – Bagaimana harimu? (Bah-gay-mah-nah ha-ri (as in reap)-moo)

Asking how someone’s day is going is also an apt form of greeting. Bagaimana means “how” and harimu means “your day”, combining it forms the greeting “How is your day?”. The responses to this phrase could be similar to “how are you”.


  • You: Bagaimana harimu?

    “How is your day?”

    Person: baik, baik.

    “Good, good”


    Person: baik


  • You: Bagaimana harimu?

    “How is your day?”

    Person: tidak bagus

    “Not good”

Nice to meet you! – Senang bertemu denganmu! (Seh-nan burt-eh-moo deh-gang-moo)

This phrase can be used when greeting people, mostly used with people you are meeting for the first time. If you want to sound more formal when you want to greet your new colleague for the first time, you can say senang bertemu dengan Anda (Seh-nan burt-eh-moo deh-gang ahn-dah) instead.


  • You: Senang bertemu denganmu!

    “Nice to meet you!”

    Person: Senang bertemu dengan kamu juga.

    “Nice to meet you too”

It’s nice to see you again – Senang bisa bertemu dengan Anda lagi (Seh-nan bee-sah burt-eh-moo deh-gang ahn-dah log-ee)

Unlike the previous greeting, this phrase can be used when you are greeting someone that you have met before.


  • You: Senang bisa bertemu dengan Anda lagi!

    “It’s nice to see you again!”

    Person: Senang bisa bertemu dengan Anda lagi juga!

    “It’s nice to see you again too!”

Saying goodbye!

Now that you know how to greet in Indonesian, let’s look at how you would say “goodbye”!

source: bublikhaus, freepik.


Goodbye (when you are leaving) – Selamat tinggal (suh-lah-ma teen-gal)

Tinggal means “to stay”. When you are the one leaving, you use this phrase to say goodbye to the other person.


  • You are visiting your friend at their home. It is now time to leave and go to your own home.

    You: Selamat tinggal!


    Your friend: Selamat jalan


Goodbye (when you are staying) – Selamat jalan (suh-lah-ma jal-lan)

Jalan means “to go”, the opposite of Tinggal. Someone would use this to say “goodbye” when they are leaving you and you are staying.


  • A friend of yours is visiting you at your home. It is now time for them to leave and go to their home.

    Your friend: Selamat tinggal.


    You: Selamat jalan.


See you later! – Sampai jumpa! (sahm-pai joom-pah)

A friendlier way to say goodbye when you are hoping to see someone again. You can use this regardless if you are the one leaving or staying.


  • When you are about to part ways with your friend

    You: Sampai jumpa!

    “See you later!”

    Your friend: ya, sampai jumpa!

    “Yeah, see you later!”

Meet you later – Jumpa lagi (joom-pah log-ee)

Another way to say goodbye with the hope that you would see someone again, you also can use this regardless if you are the one leaving or staying.


  • Your sibling is about to leave after spending the entire day watching movies at your house

    You: Jumpa lagi

    “See you later”

    Sibling: Jumpa lagi!

    “See you later!”


source: Designed and distributed by freepix


Some extra tips when greeting someone in Indonesia:

1. What are some DONTs when greeting an Indonesian?

Handshakes are a bit different in Indonesia. Giving someone a firm handshake with strong eye contact is actually seen as aggression. So when going in for a handshake, instead of gripping, just lightly touch the person’s hand.

Do not pronounce the I in siang from selamat siang as “ai” and not “ee” because it sounds very close to sayang, which means “Baby” or “sweetheart”. It’s an awkward disaster waiting to happen!

2. What are some DOs when greeting an Indonesian?

After (correctly) shaking hands with someone, it’s customary to very gently place a hand on your heart or bow slightly to show your respect and appreciation to the person.

If you are invited to someone’s home, it is advisable to take a small gift with you. Indonesians are extremely generous and will expect the same from you. When you are invited to sit down, don’t show the soles of your feet; keep your feet flat on the floor while you keep a straight posture. Your feet should also point to the person who is sitting opposite of you.

3. What are some Indonesian pronunciation guidelines?

Bahasa Indonesia or Indonesia is the official language of Indonesia. The language uses a 26-letter English alphabet, so letters are quite similar to English. Pronunciation is relatively easy as well since you pronounce words the same way it is written, except for the letter c/C, which is pronounced “Ch” instead of “see”.

Vowles follow a simple pronunciation guideline:

  • E = uh
  • A = ah
  • U = ew
  • I = ee
  • O = oh

Selamat jalan! (Goodbye!)

With this guide, you will definitely succeed in greeting others in Indonesian like a local!

If you are struggling with this topic or want to learn the entirety of the Indonesian language, getting a tutor is probably one of the most beneficial actions you can take to learn. At AmazingTalker, we have a large number of Indonesian tutors to choose from; you will definitely find the perfect tutor that can help you reach your fluency goals! Not just Indonesian tutors, but a wide variety of languages as well. All of this and more, at AmazingTalker!




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