A funky watering hole

What we say: 3.5 stars

Budaba is a rather funky San Francisco/Haight-Ashbury type of watering hole located in Pantai Tengah. From the exterior it has a rather uninviting vibe because the doors are always closed and it’s a bit dark. But perhaps that’s its beauty — it has mystery. Or okay, maybe it’s just because they have poor lighting and they try to keep the neighbours happy by decreasing the sound level. But any place that has a statue of a Hindu goddess posted sentry at the door beckons my curiosity.

Worlds largest Chinese lantern?

Since they open at 18:00 it’s still rather bright outside, so once you tug on the stuck door a few times and get in you need to adjust your eyes to the sudden dimness. It’s actually a great time to pop in because it’s quiet and cool. Choose from sitting on anything from old living room couches to typical high bar stools or bellying up to the bar itself. The bartender may grunt a few times initially but once you’ve settled in, conversation can ensue.

It’s easy to lose track of time in Budaba because as time ticks by, such an assortment of people wander through that conversing with strangers is almost too easy. Add a few drinks to the mix and before you know it you could be challenged to a game of pool, darts or lip-syncing with new friends.

Budaba is actually part of the Green Village Resort, so hotel guests get 20 percent off their bar bill. In addition to hotel guests you’ll have other tourists, locals, expats, the after work crowd and even local merchants popping in for a quickie or a not-so-quickie. And it’s buzzy! The diverse conversations and varied age groups really keep the place from being one of those typically depressing dimly lit bars, where some morose old geezer is in the corner staring watery eyed into space… like in the movies.

Hindu goddess and friend on sentry duty.

Being solo or with friends, anyone would feel welcome at Budaba because it’s not clique-y; plenty of folks know each other, but they are all quite friendly. There’s occasionally live music, but generally the bar’s background music is also diverse enough to not grate or so loud that one must yell at the person sitting next to them.

Fancy something more elaborate?

Drinks range from Tiger beer on tap to Jaeger bombs to margaritas and mojitos. There’s no happy hour or drinks special, but a beer at 4 ringgit or a basic cocktail at 7 ringgit is a good deal. And if you find yourself in need of food, there’s the adjacent Oma Khana Restaurant, which will deliver orders to the bar.

Other drinking establishment options nearby with very different atmospheres include Sunba, right around the corner — also popular with locals — as well as fatCupid at the end of the road, which has a full bar within their open-air restaurant.

Contact details
Jalan Pantai Tengah Langkawi
T: (016) 312 8957
Open: Wed-Mon 18:00-03:00
About the author
Vanessa eventually based herself in Langkawi and settled into the island lifestyle. The location offered a gateway to Southeast Asia, from where she continues her exploration of Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong and other destinations on her 'to-do' list.
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