indonesia slangs

50 Indonesia Slangs You Should Know for Travelling

Travelling to Indonesia is a fantastic adventure, rich with diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and friendly people. However, to fully immerse yourself in the local experience, it’s helpful to understand some of the local slang. Here are 50 Indonesian slang terms you should know, presented in an informative tone to help you communicate more effectively and enjoy your travels to the fullest.

1. Apa kabar?

This phrase means “How are you?” and is a common greeting. Understanding basic greetings will make your interactions smoother and friendlier.

2. Mantap

Meaning “awesome” or “great,” this word is used to express approval or admiration. You’ll hear it often when locals describe something they like.

3. Santai

Translating to “relax” or “take it easy,” this word captures the laid-back attitude prevalent in many parts of Indonesia.

4. Gila

Literally meaning “crazy,” this term is often used to express surprise or amazement, similar to “wow” in English.

5. Nggak

A casual way of saying “no,” it’s frequently used in everyday conversation.

6. Bule

This term refers to foreigners, particularly Westerners. It’s not derogatory but rather a neutral descriptor.

7. Makasi

A casual form of “thank you” (terima kasih). It’s a polite and friendly way to show gratitude.

8. Oke

Derived from the English “okay,” this is widely used to agree or confirm something.

9. Makan

Meaning “eat,” this is an essential word for food lovers exploring Indonesian cuisine.

10. Nongkrong

This term means “to hang out” and is often used by young people planning social gatherings.

11. Gue

A colloquial way of saying “I” or “me,” commonly used in Jakarta and other urban areas.

12. Lo

A casual way to say “you,” used among friends and in informal settings.

13. Susah

Meaning “difficult” or “hard,” this word can help you explain challenges you might face.

14. Seru

Translating to “fun” or “exciting,” it’s perfect for describing enjoyable experiences.

15. Keren

This word means “cool” or “stylish,” useful for complimenting someone or something.

16. Asik

Meaning “enjoyable” or “fun,” it’s often used to describe a good time.

17. Gebetan

Refers to a crush or someone you’re interested in romantically.

18. Pacar

A term for boyfriend or girlfriend, useful for discussing relationships.

19. Jomblo

This word means “single” and is commonly used to describe someone without a partner.

20. Kepo

A term borrowed from Hokkien, meaning someone who is overly curious or a busybody.

21. Baper

Short for “bawa perasaan,” which means to be overly sensitive or emotional.

22. Lebay

This word means “over the top” or “exaggerated,” often used to describe dramatic behavior.

23. BT

An abbreviation for “bad mood” (bad temper), used to describe someone who is not in a good mood.

24. Galau

Refers to a state of confusion or emotional turmoil, especially regarding love.

25. SKSD

Short for “Sok Kenal Sok Dekat,” meaning someone who pretends to know you well when they don’t.

26. PD

An abbreviation for “percaya diri,” which means confident or self-assured.

27. Curhat

Short for “curahan hati,” meaning to share your feelings or to confide in someone.

28. Alay

A term for someone who is overly dramatic or trying too hard to be trendy.

29. Bokap

A slang term for “father,” similar to “dad” or “old man.”

30. Nyokap

A slang term for “mother,” similar to “mom” or “old lady.”

31. Gaul

This word means “sociable” or “trendy,” often used to describe someone who is up-to-date with the latest trends.

32. Ngebut

Means “speeding” or driving fast, useful when discussing driving habits.

33. Mager

Short for “malas gerak,” meaning too lazy to move.

34. Bete

A slang term for feeling bored or annoyed.

35. Gebetan

A term for someone you have a crush on.

36. Cabe-cabean

Refers to a young woman who dresses provocatively and seeks attention.

37. Kepo

An Indonesian slang borrowed from Hokkien meaning overly curious or nosy.

38. Kuy

A playful way to say “let’s go,” often used by younger people.

39. Sok tahu

Means “know-it-all,” used to describe someone who pretends to know everything.

40. Narsis

Derived from “narcissistic,” used to describe someone who loves themselves excessively.

41. Kampungan

A derogatory term for someone who is unsophisticated or from a rural area.

42. Modus

Short for “modal dusta,” meaning to pretend or to have hidden motives.

43. Caper

Short for “cari perhatian,” meaning to seek attention.

44. Sableng

A slang term for someone who is crazy or eccentric.

45. Baper

Means to take things too seriously or to be overly emotional.

46. Garing

Used to describe something that is boring or dull.

47. Mager

Short for “malas gerak,” meaning too lazy to move.

48. BT

Short for “bad temper,” meaning someone who is in a bad mood.

49. Bokis

A slang term for a lie or untruth.

50. Gokil

Means “crazy” or “insane,” but in a fun or entertaining way.


Understanding these 50 Indonesian slang terms can significantly enhance your travel experience, allowing you to communicate more naturally with locals and gain a deeper appreciation for the culture. Whether you’re navigating bustling cities or exploring remote islands, these phrases will help you connect and enjoy your journey through Indonesia.

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