One glance at the world’s top destinations to visit on travel websites sees Hanoi regularly featuring in the top ten.
The city of Hanoi and the region surrounding it is becoming a regular spot with tourists and as the modern developments continue, the more accessible Hanoi becomes for visitors. With over 10 excellent golf courses to play, it’s little wonder golfers are starting to add Hanoi to their list of must visit destinations in Vietnam and Asia.
With so many golf courses to choose from, you may find it tough to tear yourself away from the golf course but when in Hanoi, you should take time out from the golf to appreciate everything this area of Vietnam has to offer. You will not be disappointed.
Geography and Travel
Hanoi is situated in the northern region of Vietnam, on the country’s Red River delta. Located on the right bank of the Red River, Hanoi is only 90 kilometres away from the coast and this makes it a good place to start in Vietnam if you are thinking about heading to the beach at any point.
With the proximity of great rivers to the city, many dykes have been built along the banks to prevent any problems. However, boasting lakes and mountains, the natural beauty of Hanoi is tremendous and combines with the architecture of both the historical and modern buildings to make the city a special place to visit for golf.
Hanoi is easy to reach thanks to the Noi Bai International Airport, which is located just 45 minutes north of the city. In 2015, a new international terminal opened and immigration has become much faster as a result. The terminal is modern and clean and airlines including Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines all arrive and depart from here.
When leaving the airport there are several options but one of the best is to use a private car service and they will take you to any address in the city or to the coast if you prefer. You also have the choice of the shuttle bus, including the Catba Express and public taxi but we recommend having a private vehicle to take you and your golf clubs to your accommodation.
Taxis are considered the best way to get around the city itself but you should always agree on a price before you start your journey. Hanoi are in the process of opening their first metro system and a line should be opening in 2018 to make transport around the city quicker and more comfortable.
However, when travelling to the golf courses around Hanoi, you are better off asking your hotel to arrange a taxi to take you there and pick you up.
Where to Stay
The Old Quarter of Hanoi is one of the most popular areas of the city to stay and while the guest houses and hostels generally cater for budget travellers, there are many options to choose from to suit all tastes.
The Silk Path Boutique consistently receives rave reviews and this hotel is in the heart of the Old Quarter. With stylish rooms and excellent customer service, this hotel is proving a popular choice especially with some of the best views of the city from the roof top bar.
If you like to stay in branded hotels, the Sofitel Legend Metropole is a good choice. This is one of the old colonial hotels from the 1900’s and now combines modernity with distinctive charm and is a great place to stay in the heart of Hanoi’s former French Quarter.
However, the Old Quarter is regarded as the best place to stay in Hanoi and another option includes the Essence Hanoi Hotel and Spa. This hotel is close to all the main attractions and the food is excellent, including delicious traditional Vietnamese cooking.
If you like, you can combine a stay in the city with a few days at a Hanoi golf resort. The Phoenix Golf Resort is a good example of somewhere you could stay and play golf.
Weather and Best Time to Travel
Due to its location on north Vietnam, Hanoi has four distinct seasons, with the autumn months of September to November being the best time to visit for playing golf. The weather is dry and cool during this period and is not only great for playing golf in Hanoi but also for visiting the many attractions.
If you cannot make it in autumn, the next best time to visit Hanoi to play golf is either winter or spring. While the weather will be colder in winter and the city can be cloudy, the conditions are more comfortable for playing golf than the summer.
It’s best to try and avoid the summer for a Hanoi golf break because the weather can get so hot and humid, in addition to the heavy rainfall, that finding the right time to get on the golf course can prove problematic.
Things to Do Away from the Golf Course
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing golf courses in Hanoi but there are also many great things to enjoy away from the golf course.
If you would like to take a glimpse into the history of Vietnam the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long is a must visit. The central flag tower standing at 40 metres is very impressive and is regularly used as a symbol of Hanoi. This was at the centre of ancient Hanoi and was the political home of the city for eight centuries.
Water puppetry has long been associated with Hanoi and there are several theatres in the city where you can enjoy this tradition. Thang Long Puppet Theatre is regarded by many as being the best and the puppets dance across the liquid stage, performing famous legends and tales.
For all your shopping needs, head to Dong Xuan Market which is home to everything you can imagine sprawled across four huge floors. Fashion and souvenirs are the most popular items but there is everything form local produce on the ground floor to cheap t-shirts and sunglasses on the top floor.
Finally, you cannot stay in Hanoi and miss out on the superb surrounding nature and countryside. Ba Vi National Park is a nature reserve located just under 50 kilometres from the centre of Hanoi and its three-peaked mountain is often seen topped by cloud. With dense jungle, plants and animals, Ba Vi National Park is a great day escape from the city.
Top Golf Courses
Choosing which golf courses to include when creating a Hanoi golf package can be tricky due to the wealth of options available but one course we believe should make your list is Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club.
Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club
Conveniently located between Hanoi and the famous Halong Bay, Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club was the first golf course in northern Vietnam to play host to a professional event. The 27-hole course opened in 2003 and is situated in a picturesque valley with forested hills, lakes and creeks.
A large lake is the central point of the course and therefore water comes into play on a regular basis during a round. There are many tee shots with water carries and approach shots to island greens, so you must keep your nerve around water to score low on this golf course.
Look out for the final hole, which is a monster 680-yard-long par-5 and it can ruin a good score if you do not keep your focus until the final putt.
With great playing conditions year-round, Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club is a great place to start a Hanoi golf holiday and can be played from Hanoi or as part of a journey to or from Halong Bay.
Dai Lai Star Golf and Country Club
Just 40 kilometres from the centre of Hanoi, you will find Dai Lai Star Golf and Country Club. This golf course enjoys an envious position at the foot of the Ngoc Thanh Mountain and the course winds its way around the stunning Dai Lai Lake.
The bunkering is a key aspect of this Hanoi golf course and plays a huge role on both the fairways and the greens. Despite water coming into play on several holes, especially the back nine, it’s the fairways and green protecting bunkers which are the main hazards on this course.
The greens are large but fast and you must think carefully about where you want to land your approach shot because if you leave a long downhill putt to the hole, you could be in trouble.
Dai Lai Star Golf and Country Club boasts a modern clubhouse but gives the feeling of playing golf in the Vietnamese countryside, away from the bustle of the city and makes a great addition to any Hanoi golf package.
Phoenix Golf Resort
No trip to play golf in Hanoi would be complete without a round of golf at the Phoenix Golf Resort. This 54-hole golf course is something to behold and referred to by the locals as ‘Halong Bay on land’.
For those who know Halong Bay, it features large limestone outcrops in the water and Phoenix Golf Resort is home to the same wonder of nature. The limestone outcroppings come into play on several holes and are one of the most spectacular features of any golf course in the world.
Phoenix Golf Resort is the largest golf resort in Vietnam and the second largest in Asia, only Mission Hills China is bigger. Each of the three golf courses at Phoenix Golf Resort feature large undulations on the fairways and greens and are named Phoenix, Dragon, and Master.
The Master is a links style course which is more open and flat than the other two courses but the most spectacular course is the Dragon and if you have time to play only one round at Phoenix Golf Resort, you should make the Dragon your priority. This is a dramatic golf course and will take your breath away as you wind around the limestone outcroppings.
There is accommodation available at the resort if you wish to stay and sample all three golf courses but its very easy to make this a day trip from central Hanoi too, so the choice is yours.
Long Bien Golf Course
If you would like to play a round of golf closer to the centre of Hanoi, you should book a tee time at the 27-hole Long Bien Golf Course.
This is one of the newest golf course in Hanoi having opened in 2014 and is just 20 minutes away from the city centre, making it a great choice to play if you also have some sightseeing in mind.
The course is surrounded by the Dong Nai River and is very well maintained, making it one of the best quality golf courses in this region of Vietnam. Palm trees frame most of the holes and the deep fairway bunkers and out of bounds areas make Long Bien Golf Course more a test of accuracy than length off the tee.
Many of the greens are elevated and you must have good scrambling skills to have any chance of getting up and down in two on this golf course. The clubhouse is large and one of the best in Hanoi, featuring spa and massage areas in addition to plush locker rooms and a good restaurant serving local and international cuisine.
Long Bien Golf Course is a great choice for a round of golf close to Hanoi and a great addition to any Hanoi golf itinerary.
While the golf courses highlighted above are considered by many to be among the best in Hanoi, you have many to choose from and should not limit yourself to the ones above. Other options include BRG Kings Island Country Club, which is home to three excellent 18-hole courses, with the pick being the Lakeside and Mountain View courses.
You can also enjoy great rounds of golf at FLC Halong Bay Golf Club, FLC Samson Golf Links, Hanoi Golf Club, Heron Lake Sky Lake Golf Resort to name but a few.
You are spoilt for choice when building a Hanoi golf package but you will always want to come back to try the superb golf courses you missed first time around.