New Hanoi Golf Club: Long Bien Golf Course

New Hanoi Golf Club: Long Bien Golf Course

Long Bien Golf Course is the newest addition to the Hanoi golf scene. To reach Long Bien Golf Course from the center of Hanoi, cross the Vinh Tuy Bridge and its right there, across from the Hanoi IT Park.  This makes Long Bien the nearest course from Hanoi city, which is a big plus.

The Vietnamese military affiliated Him Lam Corporation owns and operates the new Hanoi golf course as well as the new Tan Son Nhat golf course in Ho Chi Minh City. While this may seem strange, they do a very good job in terms of service and style (read on).

Nelson & Haworth was commissioned to design Long Bien and opted for Paspalum grass on fairways and roughs. The grass is very good now, but may prove to be problematic for maintenance in the cooler months with less sun, especially January and February.  Tifeagle Bermuda grass is on greens which is the best choice nowadays.  The course is floodlit and the last tee time is 6PM. The intention is to eventually provide 24 hour golfing, which would be a first as far as I know. Long Bien is a public course with reasonable rates (US$110 weekdays and US$130 weekends) that include green fee, caddie fee, and a shared golf cart.

Service at Long Bien is very good. There is a large lobby area, like a hotel, and in fact the whole clubhouse is gigantic, one of the largest in Vietnam. Staff speak decent English, greet golfers by name, and escort players to the proper areas for check-in, changing, and starting. Locker rooms are large, brightly lit and have full size lockers for everyone.
Despite being officially opened for only 2 month, Long Bien is in very good condition. Irrigation and drainage is excellent and grass is in top condition. Even drink kiosks and landscaping around the course is complete and fully operational.

This Hanoi golf club is definitely a city course with views of only large buildings in the distance and roads and an airport surrounding the course. Fairways generally run parallel to one another with out-of-bounds areas around the perimeter of the course. Bunkers are well positioned around 200 yards from the tees to catch errant drives and once in one take a great shot to get out from. They are very deep and are filled with soft sand. Greens are large and undulating, but roll out true. Again, for a new course, the greens are in very good condition and are rather slick.  There are lay-up areas around most greens so there’s room for error on shots in. However, most of the greens are raised, which means a good short game is a big advantage to get close and have chances to save par.

Overall, Long Bien Golf Course is well laid out, provides high quality service, and is an excellent new addition to golf in Hanoi.

Portions of this article were written by my good friend and longtime Hanoi resident Barry Knaggs.

Golf in Vietnam Is All About the Walk (Or Ride)

Golf in Vietnam Is All About the Walk (Or Ride)

One thing I really like about golf in Vietnam is that all Vietnam golf courses have the same system with respect to golf carts (buggies). That is they are always optional, and when used golf carts can be shared between 2 golfers.

This choice of whether to walk or ride not only helps keep costs down for those who prefer the exercise, but it is in stark contrast to other competing destinations like golf in Thailand or golf in Malaysia.

Many golf courses in Vietnam are relatively flat, especially the best Danang golf courses. Vietnam golf course layouts are compact without long walks between holes.  This is really good news for walkers.

On the other hand, Vietnam is generally hot and humid, so riding is a good option for those who want to conserve energy or take it easy. A buggy also provides shade protection from the sun and generates a cool breeze while on the go.

Some say speed of play is improved when using buggies, but I tend to differ with this opinion. In fact, on most Vietnam golf courses I can walk and play faster than my friends who take a cart. Sure, they may reach their ball sooner than I, but finding wayward shots and lining up putts take just as long regardless of how you soon arrive at your ball.

Sometimes my friends who ride carts pity my caddie, who is relegated to walking beside me. However, after getting to know many of the Vietnamese caddies, it seems like 60-70% actually prefer walking as it simplifies things, usually gets them better tips, and they like the exercise. This may not be the most scientific study because I carry a lightweight Titleist bag with only a few extra balls. Caddies of those who use a heavy 14 inch leather staff bag may have a different opinion.

Walking the golf courses in Vietnam has more advantages for me. I enjoy walking the fairways as I dream of being golf professional. The exercise helps me increase my stamina, keep off the weight, and even promotes better night time sleep. Walking provides a better feel for the layout of the course, gets me in touch with nature, and allows me to appreciate the beauty of the golf course. To combat intense sun I carry an umbrella, which keeps the temperatures down and gives me protection from UV rays.

Again with most golf courses in Vietnam being walker friendly, try not using a cart on your next round and you will see what I mean about bringing the enjoyment of golf to a higher level.

Vietnam Golf Becomes More Popular

Vietnam Golf Becomes More Popular

Having traveled to golf in Vietnam on and off for the last 8 years I have seen a huge increase in golf popularity, both among local Vietnamese and visiting golfers. According to the Vietnam Golf Association there are around 35,000 Vietnamese that golf and close to 80,000 expatriate golfers, the latter mostly Korean and Japanese working in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Add to this around 50,000 golf tourists who visit Vietnam each year and play on the 35 or so golf courses in Vietnam and you have the makings of some busy days.

For example, on any given Saturday and Sunday the more popular golf courses like 18-hole Van Tri Golf Club in Hanoi and 36-hole Vietnam Golf & Country Club in Ho Chi Minh City are full with over 200 and 400 players a day, respectively.

How about golf popularity in the coastal areas like Danang? Danang Golf Club and Montgomerie Links Vietnam, the first two courses to be established in the area, both averaged 200 golfers a day through the main high season this past January through March. Weekends and holidays saw allot of member play, but weekdays rounds were mainly taken up visiting golfers from countries like China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan.

With all of this demand, development of new golf in Vietnam is certainly on an upswing. In fact, new courses are being built in practically every corner of the country including Sapa in the far north and Phu Quoc Island off the southern coast. The cities are also no exception as additional tracks will open this year in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Finally, the already established and highly regarded Vietnam Golf Coast will get stronger too when the Bana Hills Golf Club comes on stream in 2015.

There is no doubt that golf in Vietnam will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Additional courses now under development and/or in construction will just strengthen the appeal of the game both domestically and among international golf tourists.

Arrange Your Own Vietnam Golf Holiday

Arrange Your Own Vietnam Golf Holiday

Here are some tips I came up with to help anyone who is interested in arranging a Vietnam golf holiday.

There are a number of areas you must carefully think about before arranging your own Vietnam golf tour. The biggest advantage of booking yourself is “potential cost savings”. However, any savings must be weighed against the time required to do things yourself and on-the-ground logistical problems that will arise.

Starting with the Vietnam golf courses, you need to evaluate and choose which ones are best for your trip. Do some online research and read course descriptions and reviews! I always recommend playing the best courses within budget on holiday. Find out from the courses how busy they will be when you want to play. Courses in Vietnam are busiest on weekends, so golf on weekdays whenever possible. Then ask about any special deals the courses may have on offer. Sometimes you can get a meal or golf souvenir thrown in at no cost. Finally, make sure you ask about course conditions. This is really important as you want to make sure you play at courses which have no, or minimal, maintenance going on during your golfing in Vietnam. No one likes putting on freshly cored greens!

Once you select the golf courses you want to play, you need to book tee times. In the summer months it is better to play in the morning and avoid the afternoon heat. In the cooler months, the opposite is true.

How about accommodation? This is the easiest part of any golf trip to arrange as there is an abundance of online information and many Vietnam golf resorts offer special internet prices. However, make sure all fees quoted include breakfast, taxes, and service charges. Also be sure to note any rate restrictions like minimum periods of stay and cancellation penalties.

The most important factor to consider is location. Is the resort you are interested in near the golf courses, tourist attractions, restaurants, shopping, night life etc.? How long will it take you to the get to the golf courses each day? 30 minutes is ideal and certainly less than 1 hour is mandatory. A sure way to ruin a golf holiday is to be stuck in traffic or traveling in a car for hours on end.

The last item to arrange for your Asian golf holiday is transportation. This is very important as many of the best golf courses in Vietnam are located away from the resort areas. Reliable late model transportation with an English speaking driver is a must for any successful Vietnam golf holiday. Vans are preferred to cars as they have more room for golf bag storage and will allow you to stretch out a bit after golf.

Trying to organize suitable transfers is also the most difficult and costly task.  There are several options. Driving in Vietnam is not recommended as the roads and driving customs take some getting used to. Taxis are readily available and inexpensive, albeit most drivers cannot speak English and are unfamiliar with the locations of Vietnam’s golf courses. Hotel transportation is a good option for golfers, although hotel cars can be very expensive.

Then there are private tour companies in the area you want to visit. They often provide private air conditioned mini-vans and English speaking drivers. Their drivers will take you to the course each day and their vehicles are spacious enough so that the journey to/from the golf course will be pleasant.

Dedicated golf tour operators will provide the same services with their own vans. Golf tour companies use luxurious mini-vans specifically modified for golfers. This would be the best option for golfers looking for VIP service on their Vietnam golf holiday.  Try to avoid any older model vans as the maintenance standards in Vietnam are not that good and the last thing you want is to break down alongside the road.

In summary, it is feasible to arrange your own Vietnam golf tour, but there are a number of potential pitfalls too. Using a specialized golf tour operator is the best option to insure the success of your Vietnam golf holiday.

Vietnam Golf Caddies

Vietnam Golf Caddies

Have you ever golfed with a caddie? If not, you are in for a real treat golfing in Vietnam. I often try to explain about this with golf buddies and everyone agrees, golfing with a caddie in Vietnam adds another dimension to of golf and is a must experience for all Vietnam golf visitors.

The Vietnam caddies will be of the unique experiences of your golf holiday. However, be forewarned you may like having a caddie in Vietnam, but it won’t be until you return home that you really miss the Vietnamese caddies!

Caddies are compulsory at all Vietnam golf courses and their fees are included in your green fee. At a price of only $15 US dollars a round, this might just be the best deal out there.
Caddies are all female and face mandatory retirement at the old age of 30. Extremely helpful, attractive, and with a great sense of humor, they generally come from rural backgrounds and really appreciate and value their jobs. Your caddie is allocated as you arrive at the course using a rotation system by the caddie master so all caddies get an equal amount of work. Vietnamese caddies will look after your clubs until you are ready to play. All of the golf courses in Vietnam are waling courses and caddies use a golf trolley to walk the course with you. However, should you prefer to take a golf cart, then they will ride alongside and if requested even drive for you or hang on the back of your cart should you prefer to share your cart with your golfing buddy or partner.

Caddies are very knowledgeable about the rules of golf, and quite amazingly, after only a few shots they can club you extremely accurately. The more experienced ones are a fantastic assistance on the greens, being very accurate with their assessment of the speed and line of your putt. They will mark and clean your ball on the green, leaving you only to put the ball in the hole. Remember; do not blame them if you miss as it means you have not got the combination of speed and line right!

Caddies are extremely accurate whilst ball spotting and it never ceases to amaze me how easily they find the errant shots. The best caddies enjoy working with overseas golfers, as they are treated very differently to that of the locals. I guess it is more of a cultural status thing than anything else. At the end of your round they will make sure your cubs are all cleaned, and wait for you to check your clubs after you have finished in the club house.

A tip for this great service is very gratefully received. The amount is entirely up to each golfer but I would recommend an amount of US$15 as normal and US$20 if you are very pleased with their services. Golfing in Vietnam with a caddie is certainly a unique experience. In fact, I am sure you will find it to be one of the best parts of golfing in Vietnam.

Why Is Golf in Vietnam Lagging?

Why Is Golf in Vietnam Lagging?

Vietnam now has 35 golf courses in every corner of the country from north to south. Several of the Vietnam golf courses like Danang Golf Club, Montgomerie Links Vietnam, and Laguna Lang Co Golf Club are world-class standard. However, only a few locals and foreigners know this. The sport’s penetration among locals is a paltry 0.01% (10,000 golfers out of a population of 90,000,000) and foreign golf tourists number less than 30,000 per year. Why is this so?

First, golf in Vietnam is relatively expensive for locals. Green fees of $100 can be equal to 2 weeks of pay for entry level workers. Second, there is no established junior golf program in Vietnam. I have heard that Hanoi golf clubs actually discourage juniors from playing and the members look at the golf facilities as adult playgrounds away from their families. Finally, there are yet to be any professional Vietnamese golfers who have been in contention at any major tournaments. Time will of course see these trends changing as golf clubs look to the younger generation for their income and growth.

As for foreign golf tourists, Vietnam still remains a hard place to get to. With the best golf courses being located in the resorts around Da Nang and Nha Trang, the former is accessible from only a few international cities and the later not at all from any established international hubs. Also, with only 3 courses in Da Nang and 2 in Nha Trang, these are only the bare minimum number of courses golfers look for when selecting a golf holiday destination. The main city centers of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are more accessible by air and do have 5-10 golf courses each. However, most golf travelers prefer a more relaxed resort destination for their trips. In time, there will be more resort golf courses for sure, but for now the appeal of golf in Vietnam has to be 2-3 great courses in any one location with loads of history, culture, and beauty of Vietnam’s coastal resorts.

Vietnam Golf Holidays Add to Vietnam’s History

Vietnam Golf Holidays Add to Vietnam’s History

Vietnam is a country that is full of history, but it is only recently that Vietnam golf holidays have been added the country’s rich stories. Its long history includes revolutions, wars, and unpredictable economies. However, since 1997 foreign tourists have been able to travel freely in the country and golf course development and golf tourism has been on a steady rise. This year Vietnam will host over 7 Million visitors, of which some 50,000 golf holidaymakers in the know will experience Asia’s fastest growing golf destination. It seemed entirely fitting, therefore, for me to detail my own adventure covering some 30 golf courses and more than 1,000 kilometers.

Vietnam is a very special place to play golf. Many of the more popular golfing destinations like Danang and Nha Trang have great golf courses and are great resort destinations in their own rights. Moreover, both of these areas have a fascinating history as they were the sites for the two largest American bases during the war in the 1970’s.  With three excellent golf courses and a lot of culture, Danang is currently Vietnam’s best golf destination. There’s a host of amazing resorts, a great 20km long white sand beach, and World Heritage sites of Hoi An and Hue. Nha Trang boasts 2 courses including the spectacular Vin Pearl Golf Club and the Andy Dye signature course at Diamond Bay Golf Resort. Being further south this beach destination has some of the driest climates in the Vietnam, which bodes well for year-round golf holidays.

My Vietnam golf trip also included playing Vietnam G&CC, Song Be Golf Resort, and Twin Doves Golf Club, all in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The southern hub is the biggest city in Vietnam, and for some it retains a romanticism that belies its unwieldy size. Besides golf, Saigon has a vibrant nightlife, culinary and entertainment scenes, which is great news for those looking for it all in one place for a Vietnam golf holiday.

Hanoi also has its share of golf courses and I played them all. King’s Island, Chi Linh Star, Twin Doves Golf Club, and Sky Lake are Hanoi’s best tracks.  Vietnam’s capital also offers a unique blend chaos, elegance and ultra-modern vibrancy to satisfy even the most seasoned golf traveler. Transportation around the city’s Old Quarter is still by the same rickshaws which have been plying the streets for centuries.
A couple of hundred kilometers east of Hanoi is Haiphong and Hanoi Bay, the latter being Vietnam’s most famous attraction. The UNESCO registered Halong Bay is one of the natural wonders of the world and must be seen to be believed. The nearby port city of Haiphong boasts 2 golf courses, Song Gia Golf Resort and Do Son Seaside.  Both courses are situated around inland seas and rivers which make for excellent, albeit windy, playing conditions.

Not only did my Vietnam golf trip encompass great golf courses, but I also got up close and personal with Vietnamese culture, hospitable people and, most importantly, had a wonderful time.
With my golfing experience complete, I settled back to reflect upon Vietnam. I am sure mine will not be the last epic in Vietnam.

Golf in Vietnam Pros and Cons of Night Golf

Golf in Vietnam Pros and Cons of Night Golf

Golf in Vietnam can be played day or night as more  Vietnam golf courses are being built with lights or are having lights installed. For example Van Tri Golf Club in Hanoi and Twin Doves Golf Club in Saigon both offer night golf starting at 3:30PM and finishing around 11:00 each weekday night. The front nine is played in daylight and the lights come on just as you would make the turn. Then the the back nine is played under spot lights. The new Diamond Bay Resort & Golf Club is also installing lights, albeit they not completely functional yet.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of golfing at night, but here are a few things to consider.

1. You can tee off anytime in the afternoon with no worry about finishing 18 holes before dark.
2. Your skin will not age, darken, or be susceptible to cancer due to the effects of UV.
3. The temperature is cooler when the sun goes down so you will not tire as much as playing in the day.
4. Despite the higher electricity costs, green fees are actually lower at night.

1. It is harder to see ball and judge distance in the dark. This will probably result in a higher score.
2. Light posts make the golf course look unsightly to some.
3. Bugs and insects come out at at night, especially at dusk. This makes wearing insect repellant a must if you don’t want to get bitten alive.
4. There seems to be more slower groups at night, so play on 5 hours or more for a round of golf.

Whichever time of day you prefer to golf in Vietnam and whether or not you are local, expatriate, or visitor, the new Vietnam golf courses with lights await you.

Sky Lake Golf Postpones Vietnam’s Asian Tour Event

Sky Lake Golf Postpones Vietnam’s Asian Tour Event

Hanoi’s newest golf course is the Korean owned and designed Sky Lake Golf & Resort. The largest-ever golf tournament in Vietnam was scheduled to be held there September 19, 2013. However, the Asian Tour event is now postponed until next year.

Fortunately for me, I was able to play the course last week. Located just 20 kilometers from town, I travelled to the Hanoi golf course by new 4-lane super-highway. The journey to Sky Lake took only 45 minutes. Driving up to the club I passed what looked like an active quarry on the left. This was in fact another 18-hole course (Lake Course) under construction. A modern clubhouse with fresh caddies greets visitors upon arrival and the existing course (Sky Course) is located directly behind the clubhouse.

At first glance the course looked excellent. Large elevation changes, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, and seeing the skyscrapers of Hanoi in the distance temps visitors with great first impressions.
Course design is extremely challenging. The back tees play to over 7,700 yards, which surprisingly is too far for even golf professionals.  Sharp fairways lead to severe catchment areas, which almost insures even well-struck shots, will end up with an uneven lie. The greens were all severely undulated almost to the point of forcing one to putt at a 90 degree angle to the hole in order to have a chance to get down in two putts. Paspalum grass greens were running around 6 on the stimp meter and several were under repair the day I played. I suspect the greens’ slowness is what prompted the tournament postponement.
The scenery around the Sky Lake golf course is fantastic and the land plot is probably the best piece of golf course land I have seen in Hanoi. The clubhouse is also excellent, especially the locker rooms with changing, bathing, and sauna facilities fit for a king.

The Volvik Sky Lake Vietnam Masters, when held will certainly boost golf in Vietnam.  I am sure course conditions will be of tournament caliper by the time the event is played.

Golf In Saigon Gets Better

Golf In Saigon Gets Better

Up until recently golf in Saigon was mainly played by local Vietnamese or foreign expatriates.  The original 4 Ho Chi Minh City golf courses (Vietnam Golf & Country Club, Song Be Golf Resort, Dong Nai Golf Club, and Long Thanh Golf Club) either were only of average quality or limited tee times for visitors as demand was high and availability was low.

Nowadays, with the opening more courses such as Twin Doves Golf Club, Jeongsan Country Club, and Royal Island Golf Club more choices are available for Saigon golfers. More competition and choice has resulted in improved course maintenance standards and better availability as each of the Saigon golf courses all try to differentiate and stand out from the others.

This is welcome news for golf travelers as it is now easy to either consider Saigon as a golf holiday destination in and of itself or as part of a 2-centered golf holiday in combination with Danang. After all, Saigon the best nightlife in Vietnam and Danang the best golf in Vietnam and what golfer would want to miss either?

Golf in Nha Trang Is On The Upswing

Golf in Nha Trang Is On The Upswing

Nha Trang is best known for its beaches and as the windsurfing capital of the world. With only one golf course, Vin Pearl Golf Club, it was a hard sell to get any foreigners to travel there solely for golf.
Now however, with the opening of the full 18 holes at Diamond Bay, Nha Trang emerges as Vietnam’s second premier golf destination; the other being the Vietnam Golf Coast centered in Danang.

Vinpearl Golf Club has been a favorite of mine since opening 2 years ago. Some Vietnam golfers find it overly challenging, but the surrounding scenery more than makes up for the troubles on the fairways and greens. Moreover, the ride to/from the golf course by speedboat is one of the most refreshing and enjoyable ways to travel to/from golf course that I can think of.

Diamond Bay Golf Club is certainly easier on your score, while still being challenging enough for most on a Vietnam golf vacation. Also, the caddies and staff are extremely friendly, which further adds to the enjoyment of shooting a low score.  Journey to and from the Nha Trang golf course is convenient and short. Who wouldn’t want to golf by morning and be back at any of the Nha Trang resorts by midday in time for lunch and a swim in the sea?

For those looking for the best golf in Vietnam, Nha Trang should be considered in combination with other destinations like Danang, Saigon, and Hanoi.

Golf In Phan Thiet Is Over Par

Golf In Phan Thiet Is Over Par

For years Phan Thiet has been Vietnam’s only seaside golf holiday destination. The golf at the Nick Faldo designed Ocean Dunes Golf Club was excellent and the addition of Sea Links Golf & Country Club in 2008 made golf at Vietnam’s sole golf resort even better. However, travel to and from Phan Thiet was always an issue as five or more hours is needed for the grueling overland journey from Ho Chi Minh City. This in fact led to the creation of the southern leg of the Vietnam Golf Trail whereby combining golf in Phan Thiet with golf in Dalat  one could make their way back to Ho Chi Minh City by air to complete the round trip journey.

Nowadays, with the emergence of top golf courses in Danang and Nha Trang it was only a matter of time before golf in Phan Thiet met its challenge. Big name golf courses in Vietnam’s central coast such as Danang Golf Club and Montgomerie Links Vietnam now surpass anything else on offer further down south.  Moreover, the Nha Trang area now boasts two 18-hole golf courses as well as a domestic airport with direct flights to Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and even Danang. Another plus are the Nha Trang beaches; some of the finest in Vietnam.

What then is in store for the golf future of Phan Thiet? Well one thing for sure is that Sea Links is still the most difficult golf course in Vietnam and the attached 5-star resort property has the largest convention facilities of any of Vietnam golf resort. This makes Sea Links ideally suited for local conventions and corporate outings. As for Ocean Dunes, after some needed renovations I am sure the Faldo designed track will be brought up to the former standards of Vietnam’s original seaside golf resort. In the meantime for the best Vietnam golf holidays head north to stay under par.

Golf In Hanoi

Golf In Hanoi

The capital of Vietnam is a contradictory city where ancient culture meets modern golf in Hanoi. To the new visitor Hanoi appears very chaotic. The streets are packed with bicycles, trishaws, motorcycles, cars and pedestrians. The one tip I give golfers is walk slowly and steady when crossing the streets and everything will be fine.

Beyond the crowdedness Hanoi maintains planned order. The main tourist area is the historic old quarter where golfers can find many shops built from well-preserved architecture of old times selling Vietnamese handicrafts and delicacies. The most interesting sites are the Temple of Literature, the Ethnology Museum and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex.

For golf, there are now 8 Hanoi golf courses. The two best courses for Hanoi golf visitors are Van Tri Golf Club and Kings Island Golf Resort.  Van Tri Golf Club is a private members course located only 30 minutes from the center of Hanoi. Tee-times are hard to get, but some Vietnam golf agents can book a round for you.  The 36-hole Kings islands Golf Resort is the original Hanoi golf course and is accessed by boat on its own private island.

Other Hanoi golf courses include Chi Linh Star Golf & Country Club on the way to Halong Bay, Tam Dao Golf Club in the mountains north of Hanoi, and Phoenix Golf Resort which resembles Halong Bay on land.

Sky Lake Golf Resort is one of the newer Hanoi golf courses and will host the first ever Asian Tour event to be staged in Hanoi in September. Conditions should be excellent and demand for this course is sure to skyrocket after the event.

The other minor golf courses in Hanoi are Heron Lake Golf Club, Hanoi Golf Club, and Dai Lai Star Golf Club. These later courses are best left for locals as playing conditions are variable.

Hanoi may be 1000 years old and chaotic, but golf is readily available and modern. While not a golf destination in and of itself, the Vietnam capital is a good stopover for anyone on a Vietnam golf holiday.

More Best Golf In Danang Tips

More Best Golf In Danang Tips

Here are three tips to make your golfing holiday in Danang more enjoyable:

1. Money Changing: US Dollars used to be widely accepted and the preferred currency of choice for a Danang golf vacation. However, over the past 2 years this has all changed. Nowadays the Vietnamese Dong is used everywhere. The rates are controlled by the Vietnam Central Bank, so changing money at an official money changer will get you the best rates. There are two exchange kiosks at the Danang Airport and the rates are competitive. It is much better to change your foreign currency here than at your hotel, golf course, or restaurant. Have your passport handy and change a few hundred dollars for spending money, you will save costs on your trip and any unused funds can easily be exchanged back to your home currency at the conclusion of your Vietnam golf vacation and on your way out of the country.

2. Dining Out:  There are many good restaurants in Hoi An town and most are packed with tourists and charge tourist prices. However, if you want to meet some locals and get better value-for-money, then try eating out in Danang.  A couple of my favourite Danang restaurants are Red Sky and Waterfront. Both serve excellent Western and Vietnamese food and are run by former 5-star hotels chefs. For some fresh seafood, stop at one of the many restaurants along China Beach. They specialize in locally caught fish and almost everything is barbequed and served family style. Be sure you can sit on the short legged chairs as many tables are quite low to the ground.

3. Getting Around: If you are thinking of hiring a car, don’t! Foreigners are not allowed to drive in Vietnam anyway. The best way to get to/from the airport and golf courses are private limousine or van. The costs are low and this takes the hassle of dealing with local taxis. Once you get to where you are going and learn a little bit about where your hotel is in relation to Danang and Hoi An, you can use the local taxis for any short trips to town. Just ask your hotel to call you a radio taxi and when you flag a cab down yourself, choose the green colored Mai Linh branded cabs. These are the best ones and the drivers will always use the meter for calculating fares.

Post a comment if you have any of your own tips to ensure a successful Danang golf vacation.

Will The Bluffs, Ho Tram Be The Best New Golf Course in Vietnam?

Will The Bluffs, Ho Tram Be The Best New Golf Course in Vietnam?

The Bluffs is an 18-hole par-71 Greg Norman designed golf course and set to open in January 2014.  If sneak peeks of the construction progress are correct the golf course might just be at the top of the pack in Vietnam when it opens. Situated along the southeastern coast of Vietnam and a 3-hour ride from Saigon, the seaside course will offer a links golf experience complete with rolling dunes and ocean views from most every hole.

To insure that The Bluffs becomes one of Vietnam’s premier golfing venues, the management has recruited my good friend Ben Styles to orchestrate the opening and run the show. Under his stewardship, the course will certainly offer unparalleled Vietnamese customer service. Two miles of pristine white sand beach in tropical southern Vietnam certainly is a good start for an ideal golf venue.

Let’s see how the construction progresses. But in the meantime, all the elements are in place for a top Vietnam golfing facility. Stay tuned!