Small talk in Indonesian

Small talk in Indonesian

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Talking to strangers can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know their language. But in Indonesia, small talk is an important part of getting to know someone and creating a connection between two people. Knowing some Indonesian phrases for making small talk will not only help you make friends but also show respect for the local culture.

In Indonesia, the weather is always beautiful. But you’ll definitely want to ask about the weather too, because it’s such a casual conversation starter. It’s easy to learn a few phrases that will help you get talking with locals on your next trip! Here are some useful phrases that will help get your conversations started in Indonesian.

Apa kabar?

There are four phrases that you need to know for talking about the weather, and two for talking about what’s going on in your life.

  • Apa kabar? This means “how are you?” and it can be used in any situation. For example: “Apa kabar?” or “Apa kabar hari ini?” or even just plain old “Apa kabar?”

kamu pergi ke mana?

You: Kamu pergi ke mana?

Translation: Where are you going?

Me: Apa kabar?

Translation: How are you?

Me: Sudah makan?

Translation : Have you eaten yet?

You: Makanan favoritmu apa?

Translation : What is your favorite food/dish/meal/foodstuff of the day, so far (today)?

sudah makan?

Have you eaten?

Have you eaten yet? (literally “have [you] eaten?”) is a question that is often asked by Indonesians when greeting friends and acquaintances. It’s not meant to be a literal question; instead, it’s used as an icebreaker or prelude to small talk about food. You might hear someone say:

Sudah makan?

  • Have you eaten yet? (Literally: “Have [you] already eaten?”)
  • How was the food? Do you feel full now? Or still hungry?

makanan favoritmu apa?

If you want to be a part of the conversation, you can ask “what are your favorite foods?”

The answer will be:

soto (a soup)

sate (satay, which is grilled meat on skewers)

nasi goreng (fried rice) or mie goreng (which is fried noodles)

cuaca bagus

  • cuaca bagus (good weather)
  • cuaca panas (hot weather)
  • cuaca hujan (rainy weather)
  • cuaca dingin (cold weather)
  • cuacakering (wintry)

How to talk to someone new 

When you meet someone new, the first thing to do is introduce yourself. You can say “Permisi, nama says ____” which means “Excuse me, my name is _____”. Another way of introducing yourself is by saying “Salam kenal”, which means “Nice to meet you”.

This should be enough to get a conversation started. From there, you can ask about their job or family and talk about your own experiences. If you have time, try asking questions like:

Apa yang membuatmu senang? (What makes you happy?)

Apa alasanmu untuk berpikir positif? (What are your reasons for thinking positively?)

Why small talk (or Basa Basi) is important

Small talk (or Basa Basi) is an important part of Indonesian culture. It’s a signal that you are interested in getting to know the other person and creating a connection with them. Making small talk also shows respect for the local language, as it allows you to not just learn some basic phrases but also practice actually speaking them in conversation. Plus, it can be fun! So when you’re visiting Indonesia, don’t forget to make small talk – it’s key to making friends and having meaningful conversations in Indonesian!

Selamat berbicara basa-basi di Indonesia! (Have fun making small talk in Indonesia!)


Making small talk in Indonesian is an easy way to make friends and build relationships with locals. Knowing some basic phrases, such as those mentioned above, will help you get started on conversations and show respect for the culture. Even if you don’t know much about the language, learning how to make small talk can be a fun way to engage with locals while visiting Indonesia!

Selamat berkomunikasi di Indonesia! (Happy communicating in Indonesia!)

So there you have it, a brief primer on how to talk about the weather in Indonesian. I hope that this has helped you get started and feel confident in making small talk with your Indonesian friends or colleagues. Just remember, when it comes down to it: just have fun!

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