Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai combine to make this region of Thailand a great place to play golf. In fact, you will often hear Kanchanaburi referred to as the River Kwai, so keep this in mind when travelling in Thailand.
The World War II memorials serve as a reminder of the dark events which took place in Kanchanaburi. However, the town and province has worked through this period and while not forgotten, it is now a place full of enjoyment, especially for a golf holiday.
Getting to Kanchanaburi
Kanchanaburi is very each to reach from Bangkok, so if you are arriving into Thailand via a flight from a different country, this is the best place to start. You can get a one of the many bus services which travel between Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, including a first-class bus which takes only 2 hours to reach the province.
You can also use the tourist minibus or if you are bringing your own clubs to play golf in Kanchanaburi you could book a taxi or hire a car, keeping your clubs safe in the boot of the vehicle as you travel.
You can also reach Kanchanaburi from other areas of Thailand such as Pattaya but the journey will take around 5 hours.
Weather in Kanchanaburi
When booking a golf holiday in Kanchanaburi, you must be aware of the climate and come prepared. If you are travelling between November and January you will be in the cool season and this sees pleasant temperatures and dry playing conditions. Between February and May the weather is warmer and you will find some days can be very hot, meaning you must be prepared with plenty of water on the golf course.
The months between July and September is the rainy season but don’t let this put you off booking a golf trip to Kanchanaburi. There will be rain showers but these can be quite refreshing and don’t tend to last very long. They are often followed by a spell of sunshine, which is perfect for playing golf.
If you have visited other popular regions of Thailand to play golf, you will probably find Kanchanaburi to be cooler over all but still nice and warm in comparison to northern hemisphere temperatures, especially in winter time.
If you like a good variety of golf courses, you will find Kanchanaburi is the perfect place for a golf holiday. So, the question is, where do you start?
Consistently rated as not only of the best courses in Kanchanaburi but the whole of Thailand is Grand Prix Golf Club and being just 30 minutes from Kanchanaburi town, it is the perfect place to begin your golf adventure.
The course was designed by Mr Prayard Chinnaraj and Dr Prachin Eamlumnow and opened for play in 2012. As you can perhaps guess from the name, this 18-hole par-72 golf course has links to the motoring world and each hole has been sponsored by a leading automobile company.
The course plays to 7,136 yards and offers panoramic views of the Burmese mountains in the distance. The river which bisects the course adds to the overall beauty of this magnificent golf course.
The round at the Grand Prix Golf Club starts with a dramatic 50 metre drop from the raised tee box on the first hole and you can see each of the front nine holes before you, in addition to a large lake. As you get into the round you will notice the undulations on the fairways and greens and there are several split fairways providing a choice of avenues to the green.
The signature hole is the par-5 5th hole, which is the longest on the course at 557 yards and features a large elevated green which is well protected by water on three sides.
In addition to the immaculately presented golf course, the clubhouse and resort at the Grand Prix Golf Club is first class and a great way to start your golf holiday in Kanchanaburi.
Also located just 30 minutes away from Kanchanaburi is Nichigo Golf Resort and Country Club. This golf club and resort is arguably the most popular in this region of Thailand and is situated along the River Kwai Yai, the largest of the two Kwai rivers.
The 27-hole course is split into three sets of nine holes called the Lake, River and Mountain courses. The course at Nichigo Golf Resort and Country Club is a lovely blend of a challenging round of golf and a peaceful, charming setting and that’s probably the reason why so many people rate it as being their top golf course in Kanchanaburi.
Playing alongside the river, with the tropical gardens and mountainous landscape is a tremendous experience but look out for the dog legs, undulating fairways and the bunkers surrounding the greens, which all add to the test of the course.
Between holes 5 and 6 you will cross a replica of the Bridge over the River Kwai, a spot where many visiting golfers pause for one of several photos during a round at Nichigo Golf Resort and Country Club.
The course is environmentally friendly thanks to the imported Noshiba grass from Korea that does not require any pesticides to maintain. You can rest assured that the golf course is always in a fantastic condition and you cannot leave Kanchanaburi without playing a round of golf at Nichigo Golf Resort and Country Club.
Moving slightly further away from the River Kwai, you will find Mission Hills Golf Club Kanchanaburi, which is one of three Jack Nicklaus designed Mission Hills golf courses in Thailand.
As you would expect from a Nicklaus designed course, water and sand feature heavily throughout, not to forget the speciality waste bunkers. The fairways are lined by mature palm trees and the course is set in natural surroundings, giving a strong rural feel to the venue.
While the course has a choice of tee boxes on each hole, this is not an easy course to master and you will need to play well to score low. The greens are well protected by bunkers and the thick rough should be avoided if you want an easy path to the putting surface. Several of the fairways offer more than one route to the green, which adds a strong element of strategy to the round at Mission Hills Golf Club Kanchanaburi.
The par-5’s are the standout holes on this course, varying in length and often featuring water, either running alongside the fairway, through the fairway or around the green. Also, look out for the par-4 17th hole which has an island green.
Having played a Kanchanaburi course designed by one of the biggest names in the world of golf, why not try a hidden gem?
Royal Ratchaburi Golf Club is just an hour away from the town and was established in 1988, making it one of the oldest golf courses in this region of Thailand. The spectacular and remote setting of this course is what makes it a great place to play golf and the views of Burmese mountain ranges are superb.
The greens here are very well kept which is not always the case when playing a rural golf course and the fairways follow the hilly terrain of the course, moving up and down as you progress through the 18 holes.
The back nine holes are probably the more difficult at Royal Ratchaburi Golf Club as the fairways tend to narrow the further you get into the round. The par-3 holes are mostly short in length but require shots over deep canyons so you must be fully committed to your shot or face the possibility of lost balls.
The off-course facilities are what you would expect of a rural Thailand golf course and the fact they are basic is what keeps this course in the category of ‘hidden gem’. People do not come to Royal Ratchaburi Golf Club for modern facilities, they come for a well-kept, remote golfing experience and that’s exactly what this golf course delivers.
One word of warning though, keep an eye on any balls which drop away from the fairway as there are a group of local monkeys who love nothing more than pinching the occasional stray golf ball.
If you would like to test yourself with the locals when playing golf in Kanchanaburi, you should head 25 kilometres west of Kanchanaburi to Mida Golf Club.
Many of the holes are flat and straight forward on this golf course so while it may not offer the same challenge as those highlighted above, it is a great place to start for beginner golfers and those wanting to get into the swing of things before tackling the other courses.
That’s not to say Mida Golf Club is not a good golf course because it is and the views of the mountains in addition to the pine tree landscape make it a lovely place to play golf in Kanchanaburi. There is little in the way of undulations on the greens, so judging the pace of your putting correctly becomes even more important on this course.
Mida Golf Club is a great place for groups of golfers of varying ability and gives everyone the opportunity to score low in beautiful surroundings.
For those searching for a more challenging round of golf in Kanchanaburi you should try Dragon Hills Golf and Country Club. This matches the rural setting of Mida Golf Club by being in a remote area between Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin but the holes, especially the back nine, provide a real test for even the best golfers.
The course is set in a hilly valley, with jungle as far as the eye can see on many of the holes. Undulating fairways and greens coupled with carries over water, doglegs and strategically placed bunkers make this course a pleasure to play.
The back nine holes play through well preserved park lands, with long par 4 and par 5 holes in addition to three par 3 holes, which is unusual for a back nine. The pick of the par-3 holes must be the 17th, which features a 170-yard downhill tee shot to an island green.
Adding to the excellent golf course is the rustic clubhouse and while not being up to the same standard as some other golf courses in Kanchanaburi, provides ample facilities for those who are not planning on staying overnight.
Your choice of golf courses in Kanchanaburi does not end there and you also have the Blue Sapphire Golf and Resort and the Evergreen Hills Golf and Country Club to add to your list. The first is a 36-hole golf club, divided into two 18-hole courses called Canyon Course and Ocean Course. Both courses are situated in a former open-cast Sapphire mine and are played through a small number of manmade lakes.
The latter course, Evergreen Hills Golf and Country Club, is located on a highland valley, close to the Burmese border. This golf course has played host to several Thai professional golf tournaments and the fairways and greens are befitted of a professional golf event venue. The temperatures tend to be mild on this course, especially compared to other areas of Thailand so if you want to escape the heat but still enjoy a quality round of golf, Evergreen Hills Golf and Country Club comes highly recommended.
When playing golf in Kanchanaburi you are spoilt for choice and will have a great time on whichever golf course you play. The area is full of natural beauty and this transfers to the golf, with some stunning golf courses available to visitors.