Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. With its stunning beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant culture, it’s a tropical paradise like no other. But one question often comes up for tourists: do they speak English in Bali?
Since I live here, let me give you the scoop. While English is not the official language of Indonesia (that would be Bahasa Indonesian), it is widely spoken throughout the country, especially in tourist areas like Bali. In fact, most Balinese people you encounter will likely speak at least some English.
But, that is not the whole story. Let’s dive in and answer in detail all of the most commonly asked questions about which languages are spoken in Bali.
What language do they speak in Bali?
Many people think that Bali is its own country with its own language but it is an island located in the country of Indonesia. There are three main languages commonly spoken in Bali.
The most common language spoken in Bali is Bahasa Indonesian. This language is the official language of Indonesia, and it is used by the vast majority of the population.
The Indonesian language is a member of the Austronesian family of languages, which also includes Malay, Javanese, and Hawaiian. It is closely related to these languages, as well as to Tagalog and Chamorro.
Indonesian is written using the Latin alphabet, which was introduced to the country by Dutch colonialists. However, there are a number of different dialects spoken throughout Indonesia, each with its own unique features.
The Balinese language is spoken by around 4 million people, mostly on the island of Bali. It is also a member of the Austronesian family of languages and is closely related to Indonesian.
The Balinese language has its own unique alphabet, which is known as the Aksara Bali. This alphabet is derived from the Pallava script, which was used in southern India during the 4th and 5th centuries AD.
The Balinese alphabet consists of 26 letters, which are arranged in a particular order. Each letter has its own unique sound, and there are no silent letters.
English is the third most spoken language in Bali by far. It is spoken by around 2 million people, mostly tourists and expatriates.
After gaining its independence from the Dutch in 1945, English was designated as Indonesia’s first foreign language.
With over 3 million visitors flocking to Bali every single year, English is an important language for locals to learn to communicate with tourists.
Other foreign languages
Besides English, there are other foreign languages spoken in Bali, with the most popular being Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
These languages are mostly spoken by tourists from these countries, or by locals who have studied them to take part in the booming tourism industry.
Do all Balinese speak English?
No, not all Balinese speak English. In fact, many people only speak Indonesian or Balinese.
However, since Bali is a popular tourist destination, most locals do know at least some English in order to communicate with foreigners.
Can tourists get by only speaking English in Bali?
Yes, tourists can totally get by only speaking English in Bali. Like we said, since Bali is an insanely popular tourist destination, most locals do know at least some English in order to communicate with foreigners. So don’t worry, you’ll be able to get by just fine!
Which language is better to learn Bahasa or Balinese for visiting Bali?
It really depends on what you want to get out of your trip to Bali. If you are wanting to communicate with the locals as much as possible, then Bahasa Indonesian would be the better option since nearly all of them will speak Bahasa.
But, if you are going for “cool factor” then Balinese is it since it is almost exclusively spoken on the island of Bali. If you want to raise some eyebrows and impress the Bali locals then learn some Balinese.
Which areas of Bali speak the most English?
There are several areas in Bali where more English is spoken. These locations are generally concentrated around the ex-pat and tourism communities.
Some of the more popular areas where English is more prevalent include Ubud, Sanur, Seminyak, and Canggu.
Do I need to learn the language to visit Bali?
No, it is not necessary to learn the language to visit Bali. However, it is always helpful to know a few key phrases in the local language. This will help you to better communicate with locals and make your trip more enjoyable.
Some useful Bahasa Indonesian phrases to know include:
– Hello/Good morning = Selamat pagi
– Goodbye = Selamat tinggal
– Please = Silakan
– Thank you = Terima kasih
– Yes = Ya
– No = Tidak
– Excuse me = Maafkan saya/Permisi.
Knowing even just a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way in making your trip more fun and memorable!
Going to Bali? Make sure read up on How to avoid Bali belly.
Can you live in Bali only speaking English?
Yes, you can absolutely live in Bali while only speaking English, we do! However, it goes a long way to learn or try to learn the Bahasa Indonesian language while living here. It will make your life a lot easier in many ways and the local people will appreciate the effort!
We live in Canggu, one of the areas where most people speak at least some English. And it is really convenient but unfortunately, it is too easy to get by with English and we get lazy with our Indonesian! Bitter sweet.
Looking for the Pros and Cons of living in Bali? Check out our list here.
What is the best way to learn the Indonesian language?
The best way to learn Bahasa Indonesian is by immersing yourself in the language as much as possible. Ideally, by living in Indonesia and taking classes from a local language school.
If you are not able to live in Indonesia, then another great option is to find a Bahasa friend who can help you practice your conversation skills. There are also many online resources that can be helpful in learning the language.
Some popular online resources include:
We have the family plan set up with Duolingo and have loved how it adapts to every level.
Conclusion: Do they speak English in Bali
Bali is a popular tourist destination for good reason – it’s an amazing place with incredible culture and scenery. While most locals do know some English, it’s always helpful to learn a few key phrases in the local language to make your trip more enjoyable.
We’ve provided a list of some useful Indonesian phrases that you can use during your visit. So don’t be afraid to give it a try!