My name is Kerry Newsome and I operate the Australia office for ITS Vietnam.
In May 2019 we invited Australian Golf Tour agents to sample some of the best golf courses in Central Vietnam…this is how we rolled!
When you invite a group of successful Golf Travel Agents in Australia on a Golf famil to Vietnam, the key objective is to impress.
It’s no secret that Vietnam is fast becoming an exciting and dynamic travel destination for golfers wanting a ‘cut above’ in a high-quality golf experience. Affordable and offering a wide variety of choice, ITS Vietnam is keen to offer Australian Golf Travel agents that unique golf holiday experience. So, it was all aboard a Vietnam Airlines flight to Danang for a taste of golf in Central Vietnam.
First stop – Vinpearl Nam Hoi An. This course is only one year old, and therefore new to the golf circuit in this region. The course is mostly flat, however it has a nice blend of rolling dunes and natural vegetation with views to the ocean from some of the holes.
It is still undergoing development and upgrades, with an emphasis on keeping the grass in peak condition as it is closed on Tuesdays for maintenance. Our group thought this was a good measure of how the course will improve with age and further beautification.
The Old Town of Hoi An is located just 30 minutes from the Vin Pearl Nam complex. Most of us definitely felt the town was worth checking out!
Vinpearl Nam Hoi An Golf Course
It’s hard to comprehend the size of the Vinpearl Nam Hoi An complex!
Vinpearl Nam Hoi An Hotel complex
Our stay at the resort offered us Villa accommodation with private pools, neatly located right on the beach. These were too irresistible after a hot day on the golf course. So, it was chill time!
Each villa was splendidly furnished, with every bedroom offering its own sitting room and private bathroom. Plenty of room to spread out and relax.
The temptation to just stay in the resort was definitely worth considering, but it was time to go explore the quintessential town of Hoi An.
Vinpearl Nam Hoi An Villas
Putting golf aside for a moment, no visit to this province is complete without a visit to the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of Hoi An, known for its delightful lanterns and old-world charm dating back to the 15th century.
The city of Hoi An is a mesmerising place full of hustle and bustle, but it didn’t take long before we were quickly drawn into its easy walking streets, sampling local food and drinks along the way. The people are warm and friendly and welcomed us with open arms everywhere we went.
As a famous spice trading port, the Old Town offers a delightful mix of restaurants, shops, bars, cafes, tea houses and Assembly halls to explore at your own pace.
Spoilt for food choices it was hard to go wrong, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try some of the most famous local dishes: White Rose Wontons and Cau Lau. We dined at a favourite spot known to locals called Mai Fish, part of the Mango group of restaurants.
White Rose Wontons Cau Lau
A walking tour through the old town allowed us to mix with the locals and have some fun shopping. We were even able to check out the local tailors… There were hundreds!!!
All “shopped out” the heat inspired us to visit a special little hideaway bar above the Central Market called: Market Bar Hoi An.
Hoi An is no stranger to travellers to Vietnam. Over 2.3 million people visit each year. Despite it being perceived by some as ‘touristy’, it has preserved its charm and still holds the realm of being the soul of Vietnam.
Hoi An is “a must” to include on a “rest day”, on any Golf Tour in Central Vietnam.
In the evening we decided to take in some fine dining. Cruising down the Thu Bon River, courtesy of The Little Hoi An Group, we partook in a delicious 3 course meal. We got to experience cruising past the new Hoi An Memories show in action. The Hoi An Memories show is a spectacular performance that captures traditional Hoi An and Vietnamese culture.
The river is always a blend of reflective colours as the sun sets. Being cooler at this time of day, locals and tourists alike come into the town to enjoy street food and float paper lanterns, laden with candles and good luck wishes for the future.
This early morning greeted us at Vin pearl before we said our farewell. Good morning Vietnam!
View from our Villa Vin Pearl Nam Hoi An
Next stop Montgomery Links Golf course for an early Tee off.
Designer Colin Montgomerie has created some unique natural features in this Golf Course making it a truly pleasurable course to play on. A course adorned with indigenous vegetation, it caters to golfers of all skill levels. So far, this was the most picturesque and well-designed gold course on our trip.
Ba Na Hills
Temperatures soared, so it was time to seek out the cool of the mountain, Ba Na Hills. A 45-minute drive and a 5 Km cable car to the top. Ba Na Hills was previously the site of a French retreat, dating back to the early 1900’s. Ba Na Hills is now owned by Sunland and is the location of Vietnam’s famous hand bridge.
The French architecture tells the story of how it was founded in 1919 by French colonists. The colonists had built the resort to be used as a leisure destination for French tourists. Located 1500 metres above sea level, it has a view of the East Sea and the surrounding mountains.
Nowadays you would describe it more as a Theme or Fantasy Park. Ba Na Hills has a lot of fun activities on offer, especially to those of us looking to extend a golf trip!
A stay in this region would not be complete without a game at the famous Ba Na Hills Golf Club, only 10 minutes from the bottom of the Cable Car.
The Ba Na Hills Golf Club is a stunning property, which the group were most excited about playing on. With a most impressive range of mountains as a backdrop, it is dotted with native forests and a unique vantage point from every hole. Playing after dark is also on offer, and the group thought this would be an excellent way to enjoy the course and scenery.
Ba Na Hills Golf Club
Breaking up a golf tour with a beautiful resort stay doesn’t get better than here – Hello, Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa
As if our view of beautiful scenery couldn’t get any better, our stay here was bound to offer some respite from a hot day on the course. By the looks on our group’s faces on arrival, this may have been that “Aha” moment!
Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa
Driving to Vedana Lagoon Resort from Ba Na Hills takes about 45 minutes. However, once you get there, you truly feel that Zen sense of peace take you over.
The Villas are stunning, and each one allows you complete privacy. The resort offers full spa treatments and I have it on good authority from one of our guests that her massage was “to die for”.
With no drive through traffic, as in bikes or cars, bicycles make it easy to ride around the peninsular. The peninsular is located in the beach district called Langco, half way between Danang and Hue. The resort takes up the whole peninsular area, as you can see in this aerial picture below.
As an extension to a Golf trip for Central Vietnam, everyone in the group agreed this would be a “monty”!
When is it a good time to play golf in Vietnam?
Our group is experiencing some wonderful locations and golf courses. It is mid-May and it’s hot. The heat is taking a toll and has been a chief factor in our daily excursions.
It is critically important that Golf tours get planned in the months where the weather is more temperate in Vietnam. Vietnamese heat is NOT Australian heat. Therefore, we suggest the best months are January, February, March, September, October and early November.
Our next stop is Laguna Golf Course
Laguna Golf Course is a par-71 championship golf course. Our group felt that this course was one of the ones that they were most keen to play. Nick Faldo has his name all over a variety of tee options, making black and front tees a unique experience, depending on your standard of play. Quite ingenious. It means each player gets to pace themselves at the standard they want to play. A few in our group mused about the differences from each tee, making it a good game for all.
Golf famil group photo Laguna Gold Course
Where is all the nightlife and entertainment in Central Vietnam?
Time to shift gears and head to Danang City for some night life, sprawling city views and more exquisite food.
Vin Pearl Condotel didn’t disappoint. A private room, with panoramic views and the food was amazing. This place had the “WOW” factor and the group announced that they were truly getting the “Impressive stakes” in spades. Pin pointing “the highlight “of the trip was becoming increasingly hard.
Danang is becoming a more sophisticated entertainment hub for many visitors. It offers some wonderful 360-degree rooftop bars, great restaurants and entertainment.
It was a late night for some, but we had an early start as we headed off for Saigon, now called Ho Chi Min. We wanted to play an older course, but a favourite. The Vietnam Country Club. Staying at the Nikko, we were once again spoilt for choice with fine dining and a breakfast buffet none of us could resist.
We would like to thank those organisations and people who helped to make it a success.
To start with, Mr Andy Chu, Australian Vietnamese pro champion accompanied the group at our invitation to play along with our guests. We thank him most graciously for sharing his amazing talent. He is definitely one to watch. Please contact us if you would like to consider him to co-host your tour.
Golf Australia magazine journalist Michael Jones, thank you for joining us. Michael has written his experience of this tour in Vietnam which you can read in the July issue.
Thanks also to:
Vin Pearl Nam Hoi An
Vin pearl Condotel
Vedana Lagoon and Spa Resort
Little Hoi An Group Dinner Cruise – Little Riverside Hotel