Hanoi Star Bowl
What we say:
It’s not top of most people’s lists of things to do when coming to Vietnam, but for those seeking a taste of home or just something different to do one evening, the Star Bowl tenpin bowling centre in Hanoi can provide an hour or so of laughs.
The set up is exactly as I remember from back home: check-in at the counter, pay, give them your names and swap your shoes for the sexy blue and red or blue and grey lace-ups (take socks). They don’t speak much English but it’s not difficult to communicate your requirements.
There are around 30 lanes, and there’s been plenty of space on the two occasions I’ve been, so just show up. It’s a modern digital system, but the balls are a bit tatty and expect the occasional lane breakdown — quickly fixed by a friendly guy who responds to waving.
Prices are reasonable: 30,000 VND per person per game after 19:00, cheaper before, and shoe hire is 10,000 to 15,000; so you’re looking at 75,000 VND for two games and shoe hire on a Saturday evening.
A small selection of drinks is available but the main difference between Star Bowl and the bowling centre you remember from home is that there are no milkshakes (apparently a staple of Australian bowling centres), hotdogs or fries. If you want something more substantial head to one of the sprinkling of decent restaurants along Pham Ngoc Trach.
Unsurprisingly Star Bowl is not in a tourist area, so you’re looking at a 50,000 VND taxi ride each way from Hoan Kiem. Or from what I can work out from the bus map it looks like the numbers 18 and 23 run from Ly Thai To — east of Hoan Kiem lake — to Pham Ngoc Thanh. Remember that buses don’t run late.
More details2B Pham Ngoc Trach Street
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