Surviving in a Hospital in Indonesia

Going to the hospital is almost never a fun trip. But what will make it even worse is when you can’t speak the language to articulate your ache to the respective people that are in charge. There are in fact a number of international hospitals such as in Jakarta or big cities such as Surabaya or Bali, but their international standard doesn’t always mean that it’ll always help with the language barrier. So here is an introduction to the Indonesian language in the context of hospitals. Keep in mind that these are very general and can’t fit every specific medical need out there, so keep a phone ready with Google Translate to back you up! 

Check out our list of Best International Hospital in Jakarta

Basic Words

choose your word scramble game hospital

Rumah sakit

This word translates to ‘hospital’ even though if taken literally it means ‘sick house’ or ‘house of the sick’. The literal translation is in a similar fashion with the German ‘krankenhaus’ or the Dutch ‘ziekenhuis’.


You guessed it, it means ‘doctor’ in the medical sense. What’s kind of confusing is that Indonesians use ‘doktor’ too but it is used to denote ‘doctor’ in the sense of someone that has finished their doctorate.


The word means ‘drug’ or ‘medicine’ and when it is plural it becomes ‘obat-obat’. Not to be confused with ‘obat-obatan’ which is used to refer to ‘drugs’ of the illegal kind. Here you can notice that the Indonesian language sometimes uses reduplication for the plural form of its words.


This word translates to ‘infusion’ with the context of intravenous feeding (i.e. needle insertion for extra nutrients). So when you hear the nurse and doctors saying this, be prepared for it!


This word means ‘operation’ or ‘surgery’. As you know, there are two types of surgeries in general, which are ‘operasi kecil’ which translates to ‘minor surgery/operation’ and ‘operasi besar’ which translates to ‘major operation/surgery’. 


This word means ‘insurance’ and it can come in handy for those who have internationally recognized insurance or are covered by some other form of insurance.


Keluhan means ‘complaint’ and when you hear your doctor say that, try to help him by pointing out your pain and ache.


Gejala means ‘symptom’ so when your nurse or doctor starts to have trouble explaining something to you in English but you hear the word, then ask them whether they meant ‘symptom’.


Penyakit means ‘disease’ and it usually comes to be combined with other specific adjectives for specific diseases such as ‘penyakit kelamin’ for ‘venereal disease’, ‘penyakit kulit’ for ‘skin disease’ or ‘penyakit dalam’ for ‘internal disease’.


The word means ‘dizzy’ and after saying the word, help the doctor out by pointing to the part of the pain. Because that’s going to help the doctor a lot especially if you both have limited vocabulary of each other’s language.


The word means ‘stiff’, so use the word for explaining when it feels like you have back pain or have an achy feeling on certain body parts.


This word means ‘sick’ or ‘ill’ and like its variant ‘penyakit’, you can use specific adjectives to refer to specific types of sickness that you are referring to.


The first word means ‘nurse’ and the other means ‘practical nurse’, ‘nanny’, and even ‘nun’.


The first word means ‘room’ or ‘chamber’, the kind that is used for patients. The second and third one is used to mean ‘room’ in the sense of ‘waiting room’ or ‘the doctor’s room’.


The word means ‘pharmacy’ or ‘drug store’.

(Somewhat) Medical Sentences

infusion medical hospital sentences

Sudah + (insert number) + hari

After saying your complaints regarding your disease, you say this sentence which means ‘it has been + (insert number) + days’ to specify the length of the ache or illness so far.

Diminum/dikonsumsi + (Insert number here) + kali + sehari

The sentence roughly translates to ‘to be consumed + (insert number here) + times + a day’. So now you know that ‘sehari’ means a day.

Sakit sebelah sini/sana + (then proceed to point)

The sentence roughly translates to ‘the pain is right here/there’. From the sentence, you now know that ‘sebelah sini/sana’ means ‘right here/there’


island shaped question mark

Kapan kontrol/periksa lagi?

The question translates to ‘when do I go for a checkup/examination again?’

Pendaftaran di mana?

The question literally means ‘where is the registration?’ which is one way of saying ‘where is the registration desk?’

Bisa pakai asuransi ini?

The question means ‘can I use this insurance?’ which is especially important to remember to not get the payment and the administration mixed up or confusing later in the process. Just show your insurance card to make it easier.

Bisa pakai kartu + (insert card type/brand here)?

Similar to the previous question, it means ‘can I use + (insert card type here)?’. Of course, the other part of saying this question is to actually remember the type or brand, so prepare for the worst by remembering it or brining the card with you when you go to the hospital.

Tagihannya berapa?

The question translates to ‘how much is the bill’. And yes, ‘berapa’ means ‘how much’ and ‘tagihannya’ means ‘the bill’.

Berapa lama?

The question means ‘how long’.

Kamar/Ruang/Ruangan + (insert room name/number here) + di mana?

By now you probably can guess that you can ask where is the location of a certain room by adding ‘di mana’ after the place’s name. But we put this here just to make sure!

There we go! Some words, sentences, and questions that will start your independence when going to the doctor in Indonesia. Besides our tip to always have Google Translate closeby, it’s important that you ask an Indonesian friend or at least someone that has decent Indonesian speaking skills to help you out. Even in everyday lives, it’s best to be clear!

Hello Flokq

Flokq helps people find a great place to live. Explore how you can live your life to the fullest in your city with Flokq!

Related Posts

5 Flokq’s Best Cheap Monthly Rent Kalibata Apartments For You!

5 Flokq’s Best Cheap Monthly Rent Kalibata Apartments For You!

10 Apartments to Experience a Cozy Coliving in Jakarta

10 Apartments to Experience a Cozy Coliving in Jakarta

10 Luxury Apartment Rooms: Choose Your Kost in South Jakarta with Monthly Payment under 7 Million Rupiah

10 Luxury Apartment Rooms: Choose Your Kost in South Jakarta with Monthly Payment under 7 Million Rupiah

Kost Exclusive – Kost Exclusive in South Jakarta and Central Jakarta

Kost Exclusive – Kost Exclusive in South Jakarta and Central Jakarta

No Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *