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.