Immerse Yourself in Bali with Balinese Greetings and Phrases

Learning the local language when visiting a place can be a great way to familiarize yourself. While in Bali, you can also try to learn the language a little. As a first step, you can choose to find out what types of greetings are right for Balinese and what common phrases you can use when in Bali.

The greeting words used by Balinese can vary according to their status, age, or gender. Mistakes in saying greetings can make you embarrassed. In fact, it can also be considered as an act of disrespect. Therefore, to avoid these unpleasant things, let’s learn the proper greetings and phrases in Bali!

Daily Greetings & Phrases

balinese people

Learning daily conversation in a language ​​can be a great way to mingle more with Balinese people. These are the basic phrases in Bali you can use:

1. Om Swastiastu

Om Swastiastu is a very common phrase in the Balinese language; it literally means ‘hello.’ Thus, if you want to greet Balinese you should say this phrase the first time before you say anything.

2. Rahajeng Semeng

Rahajeng Semeng is a Balinese greeting. It means ‘Good Morning’. For daytime, the word is changed to ‘Rahajeng Sanja. For night and evening, ‘Rahajeng Peteng’ and ‘Rahajeng Wengi’.

3. Kenken Kabare?

This sentence has the meaning of ‘How are you?’. And to reply, you can say ‘Becik-becik, suksema‘ which means ‘I’m good, thank you.’

4. Matur Suksma

In Balinese, ‘Matur Suksma’ means ‘Thank You’. You can also abbreviate it as ‘Suksma’. Don’t forget to say this after getting help in Bali!

hands gesture when saying "matur suksma" or "om swastyastu"

5. Pole Tresna Ajak Adi

So, if you fall in love with a woman in Bali, you can try this sentence. These are Balinese words for boyfriend, meaning “I love you (sister)”.

6. Aji Kuda Niki

The Balinese language is very useful when shopping. ‘Aji Kuda Niki’ means ‘How much is this’ or you can abbreviate it as ‘Kuda Niki’.

7. Ngudiang

If you want to make small talk with friends, you can ask ‘What are you doing?’ or in Balinese ‘Ngudiang’. When a friend is going for a walk he will definitely answer ‘melali’ which means ‘traveling’.

balinese phrases and greetings to learn

8. Dija

Want to ask the location of your friend in Balinese? Try asking with the word ‘Dija?’ which means ‘where’. Guaranteed he will answer the location right away. Asking for ‘where is the toilet?’ will be ‘ring dija WC?

9. Ampurayang

When you are in a crowded place or someone is in your way, you can say ‘Ampurayang’ which means ‘excuse me’.

10. Ampura

If you make a mistake or want to politely refuse an offer, simply say ‘ampura’ which means ‘sorry.’

Also read: 6 Must-Visit Balinese Traditional Villages for Authentic Experience

Types of Greetings for Balinese Men

balinese boys and men greeting

When you are dealing with a male person while in Bali, there are several types of greeting words that can be used, namely:

1. Bli

This greeting word is a type of word that is familiar to ordinary people. You can use the word Bli when dealing with Balinese men as a means of friendliness. In addition, Bli is also the right greeting if you are dealing with people who are several years older and still young.

2. Gus

If you are dealing with an unfamiliar teenage Balinese person, you can call him Gus. The meaning of Gus in Balinese is handsome. In addition, Gus is also used for the mention of Ida Bagus, which is a Balinese call from the Brahman caste. Ida Bagus is often shortened to debagus.

3. Jero

A call using the word Jero is also often used as a form of respect. You can use this greeting when interacting with religious leaders or people of high caste. Usually, you will find a greeting in the form of Jero Mangku or greeting Jero followed by a name.

Apart from Jero, the greeting word intended for religious leaders is Ratu Aji, which can also be shortened to Tuaji. Meanwhile, there is also a title in the form of Gus Aji which is assigned to religious leaders who are still not married.

4. Pekak

If you are interacting with someone who is very old, the proper greeting is Pekak or simply Kak. Besides Pekak, you can also use the greeting Wayah or Datuk.

Types of Greetings for Balinese Women

balinese women and girls greeting

Like the greeting for men, the types of greeting for Balinese women also vary widely. Some of them are:

1. Mbok

Mbok is a greeting word equivalent to Bli, used to refer to someone who is considered a sister, mother, or more senior.

2. Jegeg or Geg

Geg can also be used if you want to greet young girls in Bali. Jegeg means beautiful.

3. Ida Ayu or Dayu

A nickname in the form of Dayu or Ida Ayu is the right greeting when dealing with women who come from the Brahman caste.

4. Jero

Jero is not only a greeting that applies to men. You can also use this greeting word when dealing with Balinese women who come from higher castes. In addition, there are also calls for Ratu Biang or Dayu Biang which are addressed to the family of religious leaders.

5. Nini

For a call to grandma, there are several Balinese greetings you can use. The most commonly used greetings are nini or ninik. However, you can also find greetings with the words Odah, Niyang, or Dadong.

6. Men

Calls for middle-aged women also often use Men, Mek, or Memes. This call is used to replace the call for Mother, as in Mrs. Nyoman to become Men Nyoman.

Also read: 7 Must-Follow Rules (and Whys) When Visiting Temples in Bali

Those are the basic greetings and phrases you can use in Bali to local people. Hopefully, this article is helpful for your Bali vacation plan. Always have respect for the locals and their culture, or as they say – when in Bali, do as the Balinese do! See you in Bali, Flokqers!

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