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The bowling alley that I grew up going to was dark and cheap and rank: dented lanes, wheezing ball machines, worn furniture, and the smell of warm beer and cigarettes. The alley was inhabited by my middle class neighbours: secretaries, builders, teachers blowing off steam, chain-smoking cougars on the prowl, college kids lured in by the cheap beer. It had its charms, but then again, it didn’t. Thais would take one look at that alley and walk straight past.
Bowling doesn’t immediately come to mind when one thinks about things to see and do in Bangkok, but it should. In Bangkok, bowling is air-conditioned, it’s fairly cheap, and there’s beer. Score. Like many Western things that come here, bowling in Bangkok has been given a make over. Gone are the dingy lanes and dim lighting, replaced with live DJs, booming sound systems, club lighting, and electronic scoring; bowling is now cool. Well, it’s at least trying to be cool.
Most alleys also have karaoke rooms for when you’ve had enough bowling-related fun, and all of them have food and beverages. Blu-O in the swank Paragon is where your correspondent throws gutter balls, but SF Strike at MBK has the same disco-bowling feel at a slightly cheaper price. Both are located in the central Siam Square area.
In addition to evening party-ers, Sunday afternoons see a fun crowd — laid back with more chill music (although the camp factor is still very high). Most bowling lanes have rails that can be raised for kids (or adults that are terrible at bowling), eliminating the possibility of a gutter ball.
Siam Paragon, 5th Floor
T: (02) 129 4625
Games cost 100-140 baht per game (depending on the time and day). Karaoke rooms from 300 baht. Shoe rental 40 baht. Food from around 65 baht per plate. Ask about promotions as there are often great deals.
MBK, 7th Floor
T:(02) 611 7171
Games 80-100 baht per game, shoe rental 30 baht. Food from around 45 baht per plate.
By Brock Kuhlman
Last updated on 10th December, 2014.