Besides shopping, dining out or just simply having a cup of “Joe” at one of the local coffee shops, activities are pretty limited in Riyadh. Riyadh, which is probably one of the strictest of the other Arab countries, prohibits dance clubs, bars, movie theatres or performance venues. Alcohol is banned as well as socialization of genders that are not married. There is always the presence of the Matawa (religious police) who enforce the rules in accordance with the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.
I was a bit surprised to find that Riyadh had bowling alleys. I immediately got a group together to partake in the sport that is enjoyed by millions of people in more than 90 countries worldwide. We headed to the Intercontinental Hotel (+966 11 465 5000) located on Maather Street, Al Mutamarat in Riyadh. The hotel has a 12-lane bowling alley. Four of the lanes are segregated from the other lanes and designated as the Family Section. This area permits the women to bowl without an abaya. I am not a big fan of the separation of the genders but, “when in Rome do as the Romans do!”
It had been a while since I have been bowling but my skill quickly returned and I was able score a 127 and beat the others in Game 1! I didn’t fare as well in Game 2 but everyone had a good time and looked forward to returning for another evening of fun.
Other than the Intercontinental, a bowling center can be found at the Ritz-Carlton on AlHada Area, Mekkah Road (+966 11 802 8333). Bowling……another fun activity to do in the Kingdom…..Saudi Arabia!
All the best,