How to Learn Indonesian: 6 Effective Ways to Learn Indonesian Fast

Kelsey Wetherbee Published on February 8, 2023

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Do you want to study Indonesian but don’t know where to start?

In this guide, I’ll show you the best learning methods and resources to learn Indonesian. I’ve included apps, books, online courses, YouTube channels, and podcasts to make sure you have everything you need to start your journey. For those who like more traditional forms of study, I’ve also included popular online platforms you can visit to find an Indonesian tutor.

Our team has over 5 decades of combined language learning experience, and our goal is to make your Indonesian studies as easy as they can be. To do this, we’ve personally tested and reviewed over 600 language products to ensure you have access to high-quality tools of all types. Once you read this guide, you’ll have the resources you need to build a comprehensive study routine!

Best Indonesian App

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Try Babbel

Best Indonesian Course

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Try Udemy

Best Indonesian Tutors

italki logo
Try italki

Indonesian is also referred to as Bahasa Indonesia. It’s one of the most spoken languages in Asia with 260 million speakers. Because Indonesia is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, there are over 700 dialects spoken across the islands. While Bahasa is only considered an official language in Indonesia, it’s spoken by large populations of people in other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Australia. Bahasa Indonesian is considered the lingua franca, or common language, that allows Indonesians across the country to communicate.

How to Learn Indonesian: Become Fluent with These 6 Methods

There’s no secret formula to learning Indonesian quickly, but there are steps you can take to speed up the process. To become fluent, you need to be able to understand, speak, read, and write in Indonesian without struggle. The most effective way to achieve this is to use a variety of resources. One resource can’t effectively teach you all the necessary language skills, but using multiple ones can get you to the next level of Indonesian.

How Long Will It Take You To Learn Indonesian?​

What is your current level?

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Beginner
A2
Elementary
B1
Intermediate
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Upper Intermediate

What level do you want to reach?

A1
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A2
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Upper Intermediate
C1
Advanced
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How many hours will you study each day?

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But, finding the right resources can be time-consuming and frustrating. To save you time, we’ve created this list with the best Indonesian language tools. We applied our strict methodology to create the list below, so you can rest assured that you’re learning the language in the most accurate way possible. Using these tools will ensure that you constantly make progress and bring you closer to your goals.

Use the Best Indonesian Apps

Language apps are an effective way to learn Indonesian because they teach grammar and vocabulary in an accessible and entertaining way. They are great for people who can’t dedicate a lot of time to studying because the lessons are usually short. The interactive format of an app will keep you interested and want to continue studying. Babbel, Pimsleur, and Mondly are three reputable options that will quickly get you conversational in Indonesian.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low-Medium
Convenience: High

See more Indonesian Apps

Babbel

Babbel is the best overall language app to help you learn Indonesian because it has interactive lessons that help you improve all skills related to learning the Indonesian language. It has a complete course that was specifically designed to teach Indonesian, which means it focuses on the most important aspects of the language and it’s not a copy-and-paste of other language courses. You’ll also learn about Indonesian culture while you learn the language. You can try Babbel for free for 7 days and read more about the app in this complete Babbel review.

Pimsleur

Pimsleur is the best option if you’re interested in becoming conversational quickly. The lessons focus on pronunciation and speaking without introducing an overwhelming amount of grammar. All lessons are audio-based and focus on a dialogue between native Indonesian speakers. You’ll learn about everyday topics that you might encounter in Indonesia. You can try Pimsleur for free with a 7-day trial or read more about it in this Pimsleur review.

Mondly

Mondly is an excellent choice for beginners because you’ll learn basic grammar and vocabulary in a fun and interactive way. The lessons are short and flexible because you can study them in whatever order you want. There are also unique ways to track your progress so you can see how you are advancing with the language. You can try Mondly for free for 7 days or read more about it in this Mondly review.

Take an Online Indonesian Course

An online course to learn Indonesian is a great choice if you like a structured way to learn. Most courses have a set lesson plan that you follow, which takes the guesswork out of what to study next. It’s also a one-stop shop for learning Indonesian, including everything you need to learn the language in one place. Udemy, Language Studies Indonesia, and Loecsen are excellent courses that will help you speak Indonesian quickly.

Commitment: High
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

Udemy

Udemy is an online learning platform that has courses for every subject imaginable, which is why it’s a good place to learn Indonesian. There are hundreds of courses available from beginner to advanced as well as specialized topics. To find a course that works for you, you can watch a preview video as well as see exactly what topics are covered during the course. Reading past student reviews can help guide you to the correct course. You can find a course that’s right for you on the Udemy website or learn more about the overall platform in this Udemy review.

Language Studies Indonesia

Language Studies Indonesia is a language academy based in Jakarta that also offers online classes for Indonesian learners. You can choose how many classes you want per week, and if you prefer 45- or 90-minute sessions. The classes are based on your level and needs so you can decide what you want to study. You can learn more at the LSI website or try a free trial session to see if this platform is right for you.

Loecsen: Learn Indonesian

Loecsen: Learn Indonesian is a completely free resource that will teach you basic words and phrases in Indonesian. The lessons have drawings for each word or phrase and a recorded voice that lets you hear the correct pronunciation. You can also record your voice and it will tell you how correct you are (percentage-wise). While it’s not the most complete course, the Loecsen course is completely free and will help you learn the basics of Indonesian.

Find an Online Indonesian Tutor

One of the best ways to learn Indonesian, or any language for that matter, is with a qualified teacher who can give you feedback and instructions. Now, it’s easier than ever to find a teacher that’s a native speaker that can give you classes from the comfort of your home. Language-learning platforms like italki, AmazingTalker, and Preply can connect you to a qualified Indonesian tutor to take 1-on-1 lessons via the Internet.

Commitment: Medium
Price: Medium-High
Convenience: Medium

italki

On italki, there are currently 88 tutors available to teach you the Indonesian language. You take lessons through the italki platform so your information is safe and secure. It’s easy to search for a tutor that fits your learning style and budget. You can review the profiles of each tutor to see a biography, schedule, past student reviews, and more. It’s a flexible way to learn because you can talk with your tutor about what you want to learn. Most teachers offer a discounted trial lesson so you can try their class before you sign up. You can also read more about it in this italki review.

AmazingTalker

AmazingTalker is another language-learning platform that can connect you to an Indonesian tutor. For each teacher, you can see their bio, what languages they speak, their rating from past students, and more. Most teachers are very experienced and say exactly what they teach, such as for business purposes or to children. Since each teacher sets their own price, you’re sure to find a teacher that fits your budget. Most teachers offer a trial class at a discounted price so you can see if they are a good fit for you.

Preply

Preply currently has 93 Indonesian tutors available to teach you the language. Similar to the other platforms, you can search their bios to learn more about them. But you can also see exactly how many students they’ve had and how many total classes they’ve taught. This way you know you’re getting an experienced teacher. You can also talk to your tutor to specify exactly what you want to learn in your lessons. Most teachers offer a discounted trial lesson, or you can read more about the platform in this Preply review.

Study with High-Quality Indonesian Books

Depending on your learning style, an Indonesian textbook might be the best choice for you. They are a practical option if you plan to self-study the language because they offer detailed explanations of difficult topics as well as practice questions to assess your progress. Complete Indonesian, Easy Indonesian, and Indonesian for Beginners are excellent choices for a self-study learner who wants to know the ins and outs of the language

Commitment: Low
Price: Medium
Convenience: Medium

Complete Indonesian

Complete Indonesian will take you from beginner to intermediate level. The book has 17 learning units that teach basic vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar of Indonesian. Each unit consists of illustrations and explanations that will help any learner understand Indonesian. There’s also an MP3 or CD included so you can hear correct pronunciation. See what you think about the book here.

Easy Indonesian

The Easy Indonesian book is meant for beginners and is an excellent choice because it explains basic Indonesian grammar and vocabulary with ease. The book also includes additional resources such as a dictionary of commonly used words and phrases, as well as a pronunciation guide, and cultural tips about what you should/shouldn’t do in Indonesia. See what you think about the book here.

Indonesian for Beginners

Indonesian for Beginners is an excellent choice for Indonesian learners who are just beginning to learn the language. This book contains 12 lessons that will help you read, write, and speak basic Indonesian. In addition, you’ll also learn about the culture and what makes Indonesia unique. To help you learn, the book contains example dialogues, listening practices, practice questions, and more. You can learn more about the book here.

Watch Indonesian YouTube Videos

YouTube videos are a fun and interesting way to learn Indonesian. There are a variety of videos that can fit any language learning need. For beginners, there are YouTube channels that have videos that teach the basics of the language. But once you are more advanced, you can start watching content in Indonesian without hesitation. The YouTube channels below will help you jumpstart your listening and speaking skills.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

Learn Indonesian Online

Learn Indonesian YouTube channel

On the Learn Indonesian Online YouTube channel, Hani is your personal Indonesian tutor. She has videos that teach you everything from the basics, starting with the alphabet, up to advanced lessons to sound more like a native speaker. Her videos use cute animations which makes them entertaining. You can check out all of Hani’s videos on the Learn Indonesian Online channel.

Learn Indonesian Online with Think Bahasa

Learn Indonesian Online with Think Bahasa has tons of videos that teach you necessary words and phrases about a particular topic, such as car parts, hospital vocabulary, and different ways to say sorry. Most videos are short, less than 5 minutes, so you can watch a few or as many as you want depending on your time. You can watch them all on the Learn Indonesian Online with Think Bahasa channel.

Titan Tyra

Titan Tyra is a vlogger who makes lifestyle videos about makeup, fashion, and travel. In her videos, she uses a mix of Indonesian and English and often switches back and forth between the two languages. This channel is best for intermediate and advanced learners to practice listening and hear how Indonesian is authentically spoken. All the videos have both Indonesian and English subtitles so beginners can follow along, as well. She has tons of videos for you to check out on the Titan Tyra channel.

Listen to Indonesian Podcasts

Podcasts are a modern, yet effective, way to learn Indonesian. You learn by listening and repeating, which makes it one of the most convenient ways to learn. Because podcasts are audio-based, you can listen in the car, at work, or wherever you go. IndonesianPod101, Bule Belahar Bahasa, and Speak Indo are high-quality podcasts that will help you hear exactly how Indonesian should sound.

Commitment: Low
Price: Low
Convenience: High

IndonesianPod101

IndonesianPod101 homepage

IndonesianPod101 has thousands of podcast-style lessons. There’s content for everyone from beginners to advanced. During the lesson, you hear a conversation between Indonesian speakers and then they break down the essential grammar and vocabulary topics they discussed. There are also tons of practice activities, as well. You can try it with a free 7-day trial to see if you like learning with IndonesianPod101.

Bule Belajar Bahasa

The Bule Belajar Bahasa podcast is hosted by Cindy and Kristen. Cindy, an Indonesian expert, teaches her friend Kristen about the language. The podcast is mostly in English, but you learn new Indonesian words and phrases. You can also learn a lot about Indonesian culture. There aren’t that many episodes, but the ones they have are quite long and informative. You can listen to Bule Belahar Bahasa on different platforms like Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Speak Indo

Speak Indo is a podcast that shares stories from Indonesian people. In each episode, you hear a story entirely in Indonesian followed by the English translation. Most of the episodes are meant for intermediate to advanced learners, but there are some episodes for beginners where the host reads the story slowly and it has been modified to use common vocabulary. Each episode has a complete Indonesian and English transcript. You can listen to all the episodes for free on the Speak Indo website.

How to Learn Indonesian: Final Thoughts

There are many effective ways to learn Indonesian. The most important is to find a way that is beneficial for you. To find what can work best for you, consider your study habits and how much time you can dedicate to studying. If you don’t have much time to study, a language app might be a good choice for you. But if you need to learn quickly and effectively, an online course or live classes with an online tutor might be more effective. However you choose to learn, it’s important to stick with it to see progress.

How to Learn Indonesian: FAQ

How long does it take to learn Indonesian?

The US Department of State considers Indonesian to be a moderately easy language for English speakers to learn. But it will still take time and dedication to reach a proficient level. To see how long it will take you to learn Indonesian, check out our Fluency Calculator.

How can I learn Indonesian quickly?

To learn Indonesian quickly, it’s best to use a variety of resources, such as language apps, online classes, books, and more. One resource can’t effectively cover all necessary language skills, so it’s best to use a few to cover any gaps. For example, you can learn a lot of vocabulary quickly using a language app but to practice speaking, it’s better to practice with a native speaker through a platform like italki or AmazingTalker.

How do I learn Indonesian at home on my own?

There are many ways to learn Indonesian at home and the most effective way depends on your learning style. Many people enjoy using a language app to learn Indonesian. It’s an easy and effective way to pick up on the basics of Indonesian grammar and vocabulary. But if you prefer a more in-depth way to learn, an online course or a self-study book might be a better option.

How hard is it to learn Indonesian?

Indonesian is considered to be a moderately easy language for English speakers to learn. The US Department of State estimates that it will take 900 class hours to reach proficiency. But this number depends on a number of factors such as your natural ability to learn languages and if you already know a language that’s similar to Indonesian.

How do I learn Indonesian fluently?

There are many ways to reach a beginner or intermediate level of Indonesian. But if you want to become fluent, you’ll need to expose yourself to authentic Indonesian content and practice speaking the language. You can practice speaking with a qualified language teacher on a platform like italki, or find a language exchange partner on an app like HelloTalk. You can also listen to podcasts, read news articles, or join social media channels in Indonesian to be exposed to how the language really sounds.

How do I learn Indonesian for free?

There are many free resources available to learn Indonesian. Duolingo is a popular language app that offers its entire Indonesian course for free. However, you’ll frequently see ads that can disrupt your learning. Other apps, such as Drops and Mondly, offer some of their content for free. You can also watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts for free.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is the Content Manager and Editor of Langoly. She is a TEFL-certified English teacher with more than eight years of classroom experience in three different countries. She’s an avid language learner with an advanced level of Spanish and is currently studying French. Whenever possible, she loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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