As highlighted above, Vietnam is situated in Southeast Asia, on the South China Sea. The country is on the Eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula and has land borders with China, Laos and Cambodia plus sea borders with the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin and the Pacific Ocean.
Vietnam occupies just over 330,000 square kilometres and is just 50 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, which is between Laos and the Gulf of Tonkin. The country boasts a coastline stretching for 3,260 kilometres and this does not even include the many enchanting islands you can find just off the mainland.
Vietnam is split into several regions, ranging from the north to the south and these include the Red River Delta, North Central Coast, South Central Coast, Central Highlands and Mekong River Delta.
Vietnam has a turbulent history, much of which has been played out in-front of the eyes of the world but has survived and come back stronger to become one of the top countries in Asia for a golf holiday.
Most people will have heard about the Vietnam War which erupted when fighting broke out between South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese-backed Viet Cong. Over 500,000 American troops were sent to help the South Vietnam government and were withdrawn once a ceasefire was agreed in 1973.
Many Vietnamese people refer to the Vietnam War as the American War, thanks to the large involvement American soldiers played in the war but over two thirds of the current population were born after 1973 and American people always receive a very warm welcome in the country.
Vietnam now has one of Asia’s fastest growing economies and aims to become a developed nation by 2020.
Mahayana Buddhism is the most popular religion in Vietnam but this is not clear cut and is often mixed with Confucianism, Taoism and indigenous Vietnamese folk beliefs. In fact, in 2014 over 70% of people in Vietnam were non-religious or of folk belief.
Buddhism remains the biggest single religion in Vietnam but only 12% of the people are practicing this religion, with just under 7% of people being Catholic and 5% practicing Caodaism.
Many people, if you ask them, will say they have no religion and the country enjoys religious freedom.
The Vietnam climate is interesting and due to the size of the country there are three main zones which enjoy up to four different seasons.
In the north of the country you will find four distinct seasons with the spring (March and April) and Autumn (October to December) being the most pleasant and great for playing golf. The summer can be hot and wet but the winter still good for golf although much cooler than the rest of the country.
In the central regions of Vietnam, it is best to avoid the months between September and February as this is when strong winds and rain can make playing golf difficult. Summers are hot and dry while the winter temperatures remain cooler.
In the south of Vietnam, there are three distinct seasons which include hot and dry weather between March and June, rainy weather between July and November and cool, dry weather between December and February. The latter period is the best time for golf in south Vietnam and with cool evenings hovering around 20 degrees, you can also enjoy the sights.
Passport and Visas
Passport and visa restrictions differ depending on where you reside but you will always need a passport to enter the country and it is best to ensure you have at least 6 months remaining on your passport whenever you travel.
The great news is that several countries have been accepted into a Visa free program and that makes booking a Vietnam golf package hassle free. People who have a British, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish passport can stay in Vietnam for up to 15 days without a Visa.
Other countries including Brunei, Myanmar, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Russia, South Korea and Sweden can also enter Vietnam without a Visa but always check with your local government before travelling as this could change before you travel.
Don’t forget, it is always a good idea to have a return plane ticket and proof of adequate funds before entering any country on a golf holiday, including Vietnam.
Tipping is not customary in Vietnam and you will not be frowned upon if you do not leave a tip. However, leaving a tip if you have received a lovely meal or great service is always very appreciated.
You will find tipping is more regular in the big cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Hoi An. You will find high-end services often include a service fee in the bill but this does not always mean the money will go to the staff, so you should still tip the person individually if they have given you great service.
Having arrived in Vietnam, usually via Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi if you are flying from Europe or America, you will find several transport options around the country.
If you have booked a golf package in Vietnam which requires you to travel a great distance in the country, you are best advised to fly. Travelling by plane in Vietnam is cheap and fast and a flight between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh only takes two hours to complete.
You can also fly from the two major cities to other destinations in Vietnam including Da Nang, Hai Phong, Can Tho, Hue, Nha Trang, Da Lat and Phu Quoc.
It’s also possible to travel around Vietnam using the train but this is under developed, especially in comparison to air travel and while you may see some interesting local sights, the journey will take a long time. The bus is also an option but these are made for Vietnamese people and some westerners may find the journey uncomfortable.
Renting a car is not an option in Vietnam, as they will not accept international driving licenses. So, the best bet when travelling to a golf course in Vietnam is to book a taxi through your hotel and arrange a price in advance.
Vietnam Golf Destinations
To help you when deciding which golf courses to include when building a Vietnam golf package, we have split the country into six different regions. Each of these regions is home to several golf courses and you are spoilt for choice when choosing which golf courses to play during a Vietnam golf break.
Ho Chi Minh
Many people will start their Vietnam golf package in Ho Chi Minh city, as this is where a lot of flights will land. The city is full of history and is a great place to start any Vietnam holiday.
You have over ten different golf courses to choose from in this region of Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh is home to Vietnam’s first international standard golf course, Song Be Golf Resort. Despite opening in 1994, this remains one of the toughest challenges in the whole of Vietnam.
Other top golf courses around Ho Chi Minh include Tan Son Nhat Golf Course, which is close to the airport and is a good golf course to play an arrival or prior to departure from Vietnam. Top designers have arrived in Ho Chi Minh and both Greg Norman and Ronald Fream have golf courses in this area of the country, with the links style Bluffs Ho Tram Strip and the number one rated golf course in the south, Long Thanh Golf Club.
The big names in golf course design are not restricted to Ho Chi Minh and both Rob McFarland and Jack Nicklaus have opened golf courses in Hanoi.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is home to some of the best old architecture and culture in Asia. The Old Quarter is especially worth a visit for the narrow streets and stalls.
If you would like to sample the largest golf complex in Vietnam, you need only travel 40 kilometres outside the city and you will find Phoenix Golf Resort. This golf resort is known as ‘Halong Bay on Land’ thanks to the limestone outcrops which are reminiscent to those found in Halong Bay. They come into play on many of the holes and as most people have only seen pictures of them in Halong Bay, they often come as a surprise.
Other golf courses which you must include on a trip to Hanoi include BRG Kings Island Golf Resort, which features 54 holes of golf on the on the shores of the Dong Mo reservoir and Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club, which is one of the newest golf courses in Vietnam and very scenic.
Other excellent Hanoi golf courses include Dai Lai Star Golf Club, Hanoi Golf Club, Heron Lake Golf Course and Legend Hill Golf Resort.
Dalat is the capital of Lam Dong Province in southern Vietnam’s central highlands. The nature around this city is incredible and you will find hills, pine forests, lakes and waterfalls in addition to a pleasant climate.
The pick of the golf courses here is Dalat Palace Golf Club which is located 5,000 feet above sea level, playing downhill towards the Xuan Huong Lake. This 18-hole course started life as a 9-hole layout in the 1920’s and the last emperor of Vietnam, Bao Dai, insisted the construction of the 18 holes was complete.
Golf Digest has ranked Dalat Palace Golf Club as the top golf course in Vietnam on more than one occasion between 2001 and 2007 and that alone makes it a must-visit golf course when planning a Vietnam golf package.
Two other golf courses worthy of your attention in Dalat are Sacom Tuyen Lam Golf Club, which is located just 15 minutes from the city and the Dalat at 1200 Country Club, which is very close to the airport, making it a convenient stop before you leave.
Nha Trang is a coastal city in southern Vietnam and many people choose to visit and sample the glorious beaches, islands and diving opportunities.
In addition to these delights, Nha Trang is home to three excellent golf courses including a superb island course off the east coast of the city, called Vinpearl Golf Club. Located on Hon Tre Island, this 18-hole international golf course is situated in one of the most picturesque bays in the world and the beauty of the course and the surrounding area will take your breath away.
You can enjoy great views of the bay from every hole on the course and you are sure to enjoy one of the most memorable rounds of golf on your golf holiday in Vietnam.
However, you should also add Diamond Bay Resort Golf Course and FLC Quy Nhon Golf Links to your Nha Trang golf itinerary. Both golf courses provide both great playing experiences and views, with the latter being one of only a few top-quality links style golf courses in Asia.
Danang is a coastal city located in central Vietnam and features a lovely French colonial port and some lovely beaches to enjoy. It’s possible to take to the hills of the Hai Van Pass and drink in the stunning views of Danang Bay and the Marble Mountains around you.
You have a choice of four excellent golf courses in Danang when building your Vietnam golf package.
One look at the names involved in these golf courses and you immediately know your in good hands thanks to the Colin Montgomerie’s Links Vietnam and Nick Faldo’s Laguna Lang Co Golf Club. You can also include the Luke Donald designed Ba Na Hills Golf Club when staying in Danang and if you like playing links style golf courses, both the Montgomerie Links Vietnam and BRG Da Nang Golf Resort come highly recommended.
If you would like to sample playing golf on a Vietnamese island, Phu Quoc is a must on your Vietnam golf holiday.
Phu Quoc is an island off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand and boasts great beaches in addition to mountains, tropical jungle, hiking trails and wildlife.
On this island you will find the second Vinpearl golf course, called Vinpearl Golf Club Phu Quoc. This is a wonderful golf course in natural surroundings and you play your way through the forest, with many wildlife spotting opportunities throughout.
For a great island golfing experience in Vietnam, we recommend adding Vinpearl Golf Club Phu Quoc to your itinerary.