Indonesian words to know before coming to Jakarta

Indonesian words to know before coming to Jakarta

Letters from Jakarta

Before setting off for Jakarta, I spent some time learning basic words and phrases in Indonesian (officially known as “Bahasa Indonesia”), Indonesia’s official national language. This has no doubt been helpful — I think my most commonly-used words are greetings (Selemat + pagi/siang/sore/malam, depending on the time of day) and “thank you” (Terima kasih).

My lockscreen at the moment My lockscreen at the moment

What I didn’t learn, however, was how to give directions in Bahasa Indonesia. Knowing words like “left” (kiri) and “right” (kanan) has proven extremely necessary in a city so vast that the taxi drivers often know neighborhoods but not specific addresses. And with such poor public transportation here, taxis are really your only option — giving Jakarta the world’s worst traffic.

Thankfully, I’ve had T-Mobile’s brilliant unlimited global data (included in their standard phone plan), Google Maps, and Google Translate to guide me on these unpredictable taxi rides. But for those of you traveling without internet, keep…

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