9+ Best Indonesian Textbooks & Phrasebooks for Beginners

Looking for the best Indonesian textbooks?

See, some people like learning with courses.

Others want language apps. And some people like learning with textbooks.

And Indonesian textbooks are a simple way to learn Indonesian. Why?

Books guide you from page 0, to page 1, to page 3… to page 100. From your first words to your first conversation. You learn tons of words and grammar rules along the way.

So, in this guide, you’ll find some of the best Indonesian textbooks and phrasebooks.

By the way, if you want to HEAR real Indonesian, check out this audio lesson while you browse the books. (3-Minute Indonesian Lesson from IndonesianPod101.com)

best indonesian textbooks


  • A word of warning: Kindle books often differ from physical textbooks in formatting. Be sure to get a free sample first. Also, textbooks – which you’d want to flip though for easy review – are not very friendly to use on the Kindle.

1. Easy Indonesian: Learn to Speak Indonesian Quickly (Audio CD Included)

This is one of the best Indonesian textbooks here.

  • Pages: 224
  • By Tuttle
  • Strength: Comprehensive book

Well, actually it’s written to NOT be a “dry” boring textbook… which is what makes it good.

There are 7 quick chapters teaching you simple dialogues, grammar, words, phrases and cultural insights. Highly recommended for anyone that wants a non-overwhelming and friendly approach to the language.

But, if you want something a little more serious, check out the next one.

2. Let’s Speak Indonesian: Ayo Berbahasa Indonesia, Volume 1

  • Pages: 212
  • By University of Hawaii Press

This 15-chapter promises to take you from beginner to intermediate level. As with most textbooks, you get a dialogue, exercises, vocabulary lists, grammar explanations and cultural notes

  • Strength: Comprehensive book


3. Complete Indonesian Beginner to Intermediate Course: Learn to read, write, speak and understand a new language

This is another good Indonesian textbook that promises to take you to the Intermediate level.

Definitely a strong contender on my list of best Indonesian textbooks.

This 17 chapter textbook seems to cover it all: grammar explanations, dialogues, vocabulary, exercises, and cultural insights. The only complaint (from some people) is that it may be too fast-paced for some learners – however that may be just a personal preference.

  • Pages: 416
  • By Teach  Yourself
  • Strength: Comprehensive book

Just don’t get it on Kindle. Textbooks aren’t very easy to review on a Kindle.

4. Indonesian for Beginners: Learning Conversational Indonesian (With Free Online Audio)

This 208 page book is broken down into 16 chapters: introducing yourself, business phrases, restaurant phrases, and so on. A bit lighter than most textbooks but that may not be such a bad thing. You learn with sample dialogues, plenty of exercises, grammar explanations and more.

  • Pages: 208
  • By Tuttle

Overall, it’s a good start and a good Indonesian textbook for beginners. Also, plenty of pictures.

  • Strength: Good comprehensive textbook.

5. Learn Indonesian with Beginner Stories: Interlinear Indonesian to English

You know what’s a good way to learn Indonesian? Through stories!

  • Pages: 145
  • By Bermuda Word

The point here is to read stories in Indonesian and get help from the translations that are provided between the lines. This means you don’t waste time looking up word after word. The result? You end up grasping the meaning and picking up the words quickly.

Remember: the value is in the re-reading rather than just going through the stories once.

  • Strength: Learn through stories, vocabulary acquisition.

The book also comes with audio so you can follow along.

6. Lonely Planet Indonesian Phrasebook & Dictionary

If you’re learning Indonesian, then you’ll want to know phrases. Why phrases?

Phrases get you speaking more right now. Especially if 1) you’re a tourist and need to say some basic things, or 2) you’re a learner who wants to add more “range of expression” to your Indonesian.

You’ll also want a dictionary… just to load yourself up on more words.

  • Pages: 264
  • By Lonely Planet

That’s where this phrasebook/dictionary comes in, with over 3500 words inside. Plus, plenty of phrases for real-life situations. The phrasebook-dictionary hybrid is geared towards travelers but beginners can also make good use of it.

  • Strength: Phrases

7. Indonesian Slang: Colloquial Indonesian at Work

If you’re learning the language, you may as well learn slang too. Slang is fun. It lets you connect with native speakers easier. And, it makes you sound more casual.

  • Pages: 288
  • By Tuttle

So, that’s where this nice phrasebook comes in. Not only do you learn plenty of phrases, you also learn about Indonesian culture and lifestyle through the through explanations

  • Strength: Fun Phrases

8. Making Out in Indonesian: Revised Edition

This is another fun phrasebook to have on hand if you want to learn Indonesian slang. Also, incredibly affordable!

  • Pages: 80
  • By Tuttle
  • Strength: Fun Phrases

9. Instant Indonesian: How to Express 1,000 Different Ideas with Just 100 Key Words and Phrases!

This is another fun phrasebook.

Instead of teaching you the common phrases for travel, shopping, it takes an interesting turn.

  • Pages: 160
  • By Tuttle
  • Strength: Phrases

Instead, you learn 100 words and phrases which come with multiple example sentences that help you express 1000+ more phrases. There’s also a dictionary at the end for reference.

These are some of the best Indonesian textbooks and books I’ve found so far.

But, if you want something a little more than a “book,” then I recommend IndonesianPod101.

IndonesianPod101 is an Indonesian learning program. You get audio/video lessons made by real teachers. The lessons get you speaking in minutes and are just 3-15 minutes in length. Just press the play button below to check out a lesson.


So, if you want to HEAR real Indonesian and learn faster with a program, I recommend them.

Click here to get a Free Lifetime Account at IndonesianPod101.com.

– The Main Junkie

Learn Indonesian with IndonesianPod101.com

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