The Clubhouse

A Vietnam golf tour: on and off the course

One of our Product Managers, Nathan, had the good fortune of going on a golf holiday to Vietnam recently, and here is what he had to say…

Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne
8 mins read
Stay & playGroupsGolf for allGolf toursVietnamLuxuryAsia

When I told my friends I was off to Vietnam for work, every single one of them had the same reaction “there are golf courses in Vietnam?”. Now I would expect this kind of response from the non-golfers, but I was amazed at how many of my golfing friends (many of them self-confessed golf geeks) didn’t know anything about golf in Vietnam.

It’s been a destination on my hitlist for a while and recently I got the chance to experience this incredible country and all it has to offer.

Leg 1: Ho Chi Minh City

My journey started at Ho Chi Minh City (which is still called Saigon by many locals), and stepping off the plane you are immediately hit by the chaos of one of the busiest cities in Asia. Motorbikes are everywhere, weaving in and out of traffic, driving on pavements and constantly beeping their horns, yet no one seems to be getting angry or crashing into each other.

Upon seeing my reaction my guide explains that this is normal and it’s just how people travel in Vietnam and by the end of my trip this just seemed normal.

After a brief tour around the city, where you can still see the influences of the Vietnam War, I checked into my hotel, Bay Hotel Ho Chi Minh, a nice modern four-star hotel with a rooftop pool and views of the Saigon River.

Eager to see what the city had to offer, I headed out to explore and grab a bite to eat. The food in Vietnam varies from region to region but Southern Vietnam is famous for its Bánh mì, a Vietnamese baguette that is usually filled with thinly sliced pork, pickled vegetables, fresh coriander and fresh chillis.

You’ll find carts selling Bánh mì on almost every street corner of the city, so don’t be tempted to try a premade one from a shop – get it freshly made in front of you and enjoy a slice of local Vietnamese street food.

Local Vietnamese street food

My first introduction to golf in Vietnam was pretty spectacular. A bit of a drive from Ho Chi Minh (2.5 hours), The Bluffs Grand Ho Tram Strip is ranked the number 1 course in the country and it’s easy to see why. My first impression on seeing some of the holes when driving up to the clubhouse was; one - this looks like a proper golf course, and two - maybe I should have spent a few more hours on the driving range before coming away!

Pulling up to the clubhouse I felt like a VIP, my car door is opened for me, clubs are taken out and I am guided to reception where I am given a key to a locker in the locker room which I can use for the day. I thought to myself, maybe this is one of the reasons why they are ranked number 1 in the country, but this level of service was at every course I played in Vietnam.

After a much needed warm up, I headed to the first tee where my caddy and playing partners were waiting for me. This visually spectacular but intimidating looking course was surprisingly playable, the real challenge with this course is navigating the wind and elevation changes.

My caddy (with her perfect English) quickly grasped how far I hit the ball and was spot on with all her yardages, which is more than I could say for some of my golf shots. Caddies are mandatory at every course you play and are included in your green fee, but you are expected to tip between VDN400k-500k per round.

The Bluffs Grand Ho Tram Strip, 1st tee

Leg 2: Da Nang

A short 90-minute flight to Da Nang meant I was now in the golfing capital of Vietnam, and only having four nights in the region meant that this part of my trip was all about experiencing as much golf as possible.

With that in mind, as soon as I landed I headed straight to Laguna Lang Co Golf Club, which is about one hour north of Da Nang Airport. This had a very different feel and vibe compared to The Bluffs Grand Ho Tram Strip and felt much more tropical. The course is set at the foothills of tree covered mountains and meanders through rice fields before heading towards the beach where a few holes run along the sea.

In my mind, this is what playing golf in Asia would be like and despite a little bit of rain, it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

Laguna Lang Co Golf Club

My first couple of nights were spent at the Vanda Hotel in Da Nang City. A hotel that doesn’t look too exciting from the outside but the rooms were spacious and the rooftop bar has great views of the river and the famous Dragon Bridge, which spits fire every night at 9pm.

It was a fantastic location to experience all the bars and restaurants of the city and if craft beer is your thing, then be sure to check out Brewhaha, a cool tap house which is only a 5-minute walk from the hotel.


Next up on my golfing adventure was BRG Da Nang Golf Resort. A 25-minute drive along the coast from my hotel, this 36-hole venue has two top class but very different golf courses.

First up was the Norman Course which has received lots of plaudits since opening and its easy to see why with its beautiful fairways carved out of the natural woodland and surrounded by scrubland. I don’t know if it was the fact I was first out on the course, but playing this course just felt like such an enjoyable experience and a course I would enjoy playing again and again.

Following a nice lunch of hot and spicy Da Nang Noodles in the clubhouse, I was back out to play the Nicklaus Course. If you had blindfolded me and dropped me at the course, I would have sworn I was in Florida. Water comes into play on almost every hole and large undulating greens make it a much different test of golf, but still a hugely enjoyable experience. Whether you chose to play all 36 holes or just settle for one round at BRG Da Nang Golf Resort, you’re going to be in for a real treat.

BRG Da Nang Golf Resort, Nicklaus Course

The following morning, I was being driven back down the same coastal road but this time to play Montgomerie Links (which is right next door to Da Nang Golf Resort). The course was a nice blend of the two courses at Da Nang Golf Resort, with tree lined fairways and water coming into play on quite a few holes, making it a good test of golf and a course you won’t want to miss.

In a bid to maximise my time in central Vietnam, my driver picked me up as soon as I finished my round and we headed up to Ba Na Hills Golf Club, which was about a 40 minute drive. This Luke Donald designed course was completely different to anything I had experienced so far in Vietnam, it almost felt like I was in the jungle mountains of South America.

As with all courses I played in Vietnam we had buggies and boy was I glad I had one for this course, some serious elevation changes made for some great views and even better golf holes. A late afternoon tee time meant that our last 6 holes were played under floodlights, which is a pretty cool experience!

Ba Na Hills Golf Club

Hoi An

My final two nights in Central Vietnam were spent an hour south of Da Nang, in the small town of Hoi An. A much more traditional town with its streets lined with lanterns and a slower pace of life, it definitely felt like I was experiencing a much more authentic Vietnam.

Hoi An

My final round in central Vietnam was definitely the highlight of my entire trip and is a course that has jumped straight into my Top 10! Hoiana Shores is really something special. A grand clubhouse, that almost makes you feel like you’ve stepped back into 1920s America and a golf course that uses the natural landscape magnificently. On almost every hole, I found myself saying “Wow…great golf hole”. If you find yourself in Central Vietnam, then this is a must play!

Hoiana Shores Golf Club

Leg 3: Hanoi

After another short 90-minute flight I arrived in the capital city of Hanoi for the final leg of my journey. Just as hectic as Ho Chi Minh City but so different in terms of architecture, with influences from French rule being seen across a lot of the city.

My hotel, the Silk Path Hotel, was a nice modern four-star hotel perfectly situated on the edge of the Old Quarter, meaning I was able to walk to all the city's attractions easily. There is so much to experience in Hanoi, from food tours to visiting the many temples in the city but one thing you must try is Egg Coffee…now bear with me on this, it’s much nicer than it sounds. Think sweet custard coffee dessert rather than raw egg mixed in with your coffee. It’s delicious!

Egg Coffee in Hanoi

Hanoi isn’t just about sightseeing, there is also some seriously good golf to be played. The majority of courses are around an hour from the city and I got to experience one of the best in Northern Vietnam, BRG Kings Island Resort.

The resort features three top quality courses, but the real stand out for me was the newly built Kings Course, which is designed by Jack Nicklaus. Not only is the golf course incredible, but you need to get a speed boat over to the resort, which in my view is pretty damn cool.

Looking back on my epic journey which stretched the entire country, it felt like I experienced so much yet at the same time felt like I still had so much more to discover. Vietnam is a country that combines some of the best golf I have played anywhere in the world, with history, culture and experiences that are truly memorable. Now I’ve tasted what this incredible region has to offer, I can’t wait to return.

Feeling inspired?
Explore this enchanting, bucket list golfing destination as you play surrounded by incredible scenery, and experience the incredible culture off the course.


Nathan Payne avatar
Nathan Payne

Head of Worldwide Product

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