If you ask anyone who has been to Vietnam where they started their adventure, there is a good chance the reply will be Ho Chi Minh. Home to Tan Son Nhat, which is Vietnam’s busiest airport, many visitors arrive in Ho Chi Minh at the start of their holiday and choose to spend some time in the city and surrounding area.
With over 10 different golf courses in Ho Chi Minh, you can spend more than two weeks in this region of Vietnam and always find a new course to play and something new to visit.
The choice of golf courses in Ho Chi Minh and the surrounding area is one of the best in Vietnam and while we recommend you travel to play some courses in other regions of the country, you could stay in Ho Chi Minh and play a great variety of golf.
In addition to the golf courses, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to other activities, attractions, restaurants, bars, shopping and day trips, making Ho Chi Minh a tremendous location for a memorable golf holiday.
Geography and Travel
Ho Chi Minh is in the south east of Vietnam and is just over 1,700 kilometres away from Hanoi, which is the second biggest city in the country.
The city lies along the Saigon River, to the north of the Mekong River delta and is roughly 80 kilometres from the South China Sea. Interestingly, the area now occupied by Ho Chi Minh once belonged to Cambodia but this changed in the 17th Century.
Ho Chi Minh acts as the central gateway to south east Asia and the port connects this region with the rest of the world, thanks to being at the crossroads of international maritime routes. You will witness some huge cargo ships at the dock in Ho Chi Minh port, which can be an exciting place to visit.
As mentioned above, Ho Chi Minh is home to the busiest airport in Vietnam, called Tan Son Nhat. A new international terminal opened in 2007, which now accepts all international flights into Ho Chi Minh. Its possible to reach Ho Chi Minh from Russia, China, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Philippines, Turkey, Thailand and other destinations within Vietnam.
A new link is opening with Switzerland in November 2018 and this will provide a direct route between Europe and Vietnam from Zurich. It is already possible to enjoy direct flights from the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia.
Having arrived at the airport, there is an air-conditioned bus which will take you to the city centre on route 152 but with golf clubs, you are advised to use a taxi. The top taxi company inside the airport is Mai Linh, who have a counter at arrivals and you book and pay for a taxi at the desk. Vinasun Taxi have also received good reviews.
Once in Ho Chi Minh city, you will see many locals using bicycles and while you can hire one, which can be fun, there is a lot of traffic to be aware of and you should always remain alert if using a bicycle in the city centre. The green public buses are a good way to get around the city, many of which are modern and comfortable and will take you to all the major spots.
However, for travelling to the golf course you are advised to book a taxi via your hotel, with a price agreed prior to travel.
Where to Stay
Ho Chi Minh is a big city and divided into 24 districts, each with different experiences and choices of accommodation.
District 1, which is also know as ‘downtown’ is the main financial and commercial zone and is also home to some great French colonial architecture. On Dong Khoi Street you will find five-star hotels and this is a good place to be for restaurants and nightlife. The Intercontinental Saigon and Reverie Saigon are good hotel options.
At the time of writing, metro construction was taking place in District 1 so keep this in mind when booking accommodation.
District 2, which is 20 minutes from the city centre is home to many expats and affluent locals. There are many good quality apartments, villas, and houses here in addition to international schools, cafes, bars and shops. The Riverside Serviced Apartments and Villa Song Saigon are popular places to stay in District 2.
A third district which provides good accommodation in Ho Chi Minh is District 5 and this is known as Chinatown. Oriental architecture, street markets and Chinese restaurants are the main highlights in District 5 and you will also find the largest market in Vietnam. The Valentina Hotel and Hotel Equatorial are two good choices when staying in District 5 of Ho Chi Minh.
Weather and Best Time to Travel
Ho Chi Minh has a tropical wet and dry climate and the year can be divided into two distinct seasons. The rainy season starts in May and ends in October. This may seem like a long period to have increased rainfall but if you would like to travel to Ho Chi Minh to play golf between these months, we recommend either May, August or October, which on average have least precipitation.
However, the best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh to play golf is in the dry season which lasts from December to April. The average temperature is around 28 degrees and this does not change for much of the year but rainfall is at a minimum. February and March are probably the pick of the months if you are looking for the best chance of dry conditions on the golf course.
Things to Do Away from the Golf Course
You cannot visit Ho Chi Minh for a golf holiday and miss out on a visit to Binh Tay Market. The building was constructed by the French in the 1880’s and can be found in District 5 of the city. Here you will find many locals doing their shopping and it is a great insight into daily life while providing an opportunity to buy local foods and products.
For a more sombre experience and something which every visitor to the city should visit, head to the War Remnants Museum. This is a truly unforgettable experience and details the war between America and Vietnam using planes, tanks, weapons, photographs, documents and exhibits all gathered during the time of the war.
If a visit to the museum has made you wonder what it must have been like for a soldier, you can take a guided tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels. This is an extensive network of tunnels which was used so the soldiers could move around undetected under the surface and there are also recreations of daily life for Viet Cong soldiers in the jungle.
To see the best of French colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh, walk inside the central post office. The building has been perfectly preserved from when it first opened its doors in 1891 and is still in use as a post office today. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who, as the name suggests, also designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Top Golf Courses
Golf courses in Ho Chi Minh are some of the best, not only in Vietnam but the whole of Asia and you may have a little trouble deciding which ones to include on your itinerary.
Long Thanh Golf Club
Arguably the pick of Ho Chi Minh’s golf courses is Long Thanh Golf Club, designed by Ron Fream. This 36-hole golf club sits on former rice paddies and is surrounded by the Vietnamese countryside. Just 30 minutes’ drive north of Ho Chi Minh city, is it is very easy to reach and you will enjoy the views from the hillside, back down towards the city.
The course is maintained to a high standard throughout the year and if you ask locals which is their favourite course in Ho Chi Minh, many will say Long Yhanh Golf Club.
Rolling fairways, large undulating greens and a great variety of holes provide a new challenge every time you tee up the ball and the clubhouse and facilities are some of the best in this region of Vietnam.
Vietnam Golf and Country Club
However, when asking the locals for their favourite Ho Chi Minh golf courses, some will say Vietnam Golf and Country Club. This course has played host to Asian PGA Tour events, including the Vietnam Masters and boast two, 18-hole championship golf courses.
This is one of the most natural layouts of any golf course in Ho Chi Minh and when playing the course, you feel as though the land was formed with golf in mind. Little has been done to change the layout of either course at Vietnam Golf and Country Club and the West Course features fast greens and tree-lined fairways while the East Course, designed by Lee Trevino, offers wider fairways but is well protect with bunkers and water hazards.
The East Course is the more difficult of the two, so if you want a genuine test of your ability during a Ho Chi Minh golf holiday, head to Vietnam Golf and Country Club. You could even treat yourself to a meal in one of the two restaurants in the clubhouse following your round.
Song Be Golf Resort
If you would like to see where it all started in Vietnam, you should book a tee time at Song Be Golf Resort, which was the first international championship golf course in Vietnam. Established in 1994, the course is just over 20 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh city and remains one of the toughest challenges of golf in the country.
With 10 lakes situated around the course, water comes into play on eight of the 18 holes and the undulating greens only add to the difficulty of the course. The clubhouse is modern and you can enjoy lovely ocean views as you relax with a drink following your round.
For something different when playing golf in Ho Chi Minh, you should try the closest links-style course to the city, which is The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip.
The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip
Designed by Greg Norman and open for play in 2014, this is one of the most recent additions to the golfing landscape in this region of Vietnam and can be reached within 2 hours from Ho Chi Minh. You must be prepared to make the journey but the rewards are excellent, with the 18-hole course sitting on a coastal plateau and boasting 50 metre elevation changes throughout.
The huge sand dunes, changes in elevation, surrounding forest and wildlife, views of the Vietnam coastline and potential for strong wind, make The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip a golfing experience not to be missed when staying in Ho Chi Minh. The rugged beauty of the course alone will be enough to keep you coming back for more.
Jeongsan Country Club
For a golf course with a difference in Ho Chi Minh, you are advised to try Jeongsan Country Club. This 18-hole course is located on an island in the Saigon River and to reach the course you must take a ferry across the river and this adds to the experience.
Playing to 7,500 yards from the back tees, this is a long resort-style course, which is mainly flat throughout but does have significant bunkering which adds to the challenge of the round. With two restaurants and spa facilities, you can easily spend a day on the island enjoying everything Jeongsan Country Club has to offer.
While the above-mentioned golf courses are some of the best in Ho Chi Minh, you still have other options during your stay in the city.
Bo Chang Dong Nai Golf Resort is home to some of the most spectacular scenery you will find on any golf course in southern Vietnam while Tan Son Nhat Golf Course is very close to both the city and the airport, making it a great choice for the day you arrive or leave Ho Chi Minh.
With Twin Doves Golf Club and Vung Tau Paradise Golf Club also available, you are spoilt for choice when playing golf in Ho Chi Minh and you are sure to enjoy the golf holiday of a life time.