The 10 Southeast Asian nations of ASEAN offer everything a golfer could want, from high-end exclusivity to casual fun, city courses with skyscraper views to fairways fringed by ancient rainforest, established golf tourism hubs to up-and-coming destinations off the beaten track. Do yourself a favour and plan your next golf holiday in Southeast Asia.
Brunei Darussalam: One of Brunei’s unexpected luxuries is its assortment of world-class golf courses. Taking advantage of the stunning landscape of Borneo’s northern shores, Brunei’s golf courses offer the opportunity to tee off from beautifully manicured vantage points overlooking the South China Sea surrounded by virgin rainforests. Golf enthusiasts and beginners alike will delight in the nation’s variety of golfing challenges. There are several beautiful golf courses in the country. While some are exclusive to members and their guests, anyone can tee off at the following stunning courses: The Empire Country Club; Royal Brunei Golf & Country Club; Mentiri Golf Club; Royal Brunei Airline Golf Club; and Panaga Golf Club. Some courses offer floodlit night golf for cooler evening play. Source: Brunei Tourism.
Cambodia: Until a decade ago golf in Cambodia was essentially nonexistent. Now Cambodia is on track to catch up with other ASEAN countries in terms of quality golf venues. Capital Phnom Penh has three 18-hole golf courses on its outskirts, including the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club, a favourite of key dignitaries and executives due to its proximity to the city. Siem Reap, gateway to Angkor Wat, boasts three fine courses, such as the Nick Faldo-designed Angkor Golf Resort, which opened in 2008 and is considered one of the best courses in Southeast Asia. There are plenty of courses under development in the country. Vattanac Golf Resort with two Faldo-designed 18-hole tracks and LYP Resort & Golf Club’s 27 holes are both just outside Phnom Penh. Resorts are being constructed in Sihanoukville and near the Ream National Park. Interestingly, a Cambodia Vietnam Friendship Golf Resort is slated, with nine holes in Vietnam and nine in Cambodia. On the par five 18th you will tee off in Vietnam, hit your second shot into Cambodia, and play your third shot onto an island green bisected by the border. Source: Golf in Cambodia.
Indonesia: Golf in Indonesia has grown from about 50 courses in the early 1990s to more than 150 courses today. With Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Bali/Lombok, and Bintan/Batam, Indonesia has at least six major regions where the quality and variety of golf courses is extremely good. Indonesia offers a choice of playing environments ranging from city fairways and mountain courses to putting greens fringed by white sandy beaches and waving palms. Singaporean and Malaysian golfers love the proximity and value of the Bintan/Batam courses. However the majority of foreign golfers head to the established international tourism destination of Bali where there are five top-notch courses, including the outstanding Greg Norman-inspired Nirwana Bali Golf Club. For something a little more exotic, try Rimba Irian which is carved out of the middle of a rainforest in West Papua. You’ll likely be the first among your golfing buddies to have played there! Sources: Indo Golf, Top 100 Golf Courses.
Lao PDR: With only a small selection of courses to choose from, Lao PDR nevertheless offers variety; city golf, countryside golf, lakeside golf, riverside gold, and World Heritage golf. Many visitors comment favourably on course conditions and compliment the excellent amenities and clubhouse facilities. And demand is spurring new course development. In the country’s capital, Vientiane, quality beats quantity at Dansavanh Golf & Country Club, Lao Country Club, SEA Games Golf Club, Vientiane Km 6 Golf club, and Lao Inter Golf Club. In the World Heritage town of Luang Prabang, there is no choice at all with the Luang Prabang Golf Club holding sway. Surrounded by forested tropical mountains, Luang Prabang’s 18 holes are located about six kilometres west of the centre of town along the south bank of the Mekong River. Like most classic golfing venues, Luang Prabang takes you on a journey with no parallel fairways. Source: Laos Golf Holidays.
Malaysia: Like other ASEAN nations, Malaysia is home to a wide variety of golf experiences: mountains, beaches, rainforests, and cities. The diversity of golf courses in Malaysia is hard to match with over 200 great golf courses throughout the country. Boasting the most golf courses in Malaysia, Johor state is one of Malaysia’s favorite golf destinations helped along by its proximity to Singapore. The resort island of Langkawi hosts three golf courses including the elite and luxurious golf resort at Datai Bay. Inland country and highland settings can be found in Negeri Sembilan and Pahang states respectively. The states of Sabah and Sarawak on Malaysian Borneo boast memorable courses fringed by reef and rainforest. And night golf is a feature of the capital Kuala Lumpur and Selangor state. Source: Malaysia Golf Holiday.
Myanmar: Golf has a long history in Myanmar. The first golf course opened in 1887 in the town of Thayetmyo about 360 kilometres north of Yangon. Today there are 127 golf courses all over the country from Myitkyina in the far north to the southernmost town of Kawthaung. Most of the best golf courses are located around Yangon and major tourist sites, such as Bagan, Mandalay, Taunggyi, Kyaingtong, and Lashio, so there is enormous potential for golf holidays. Moreover golfers will find good value for money in the country. Myanmar presents a golden opportunity for golfers who wish to play in exotic locations and enjoy the simple hospitality of the Myanmar people. Source: Travel to Myanmar.
Philippines: The Philippines offers great value-for-money golf courses in stunning tropical environments that are home to delightful English-speaking people keen to make you feel right at home. The country is home to several tourney-hosting golf courses, including the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club and the Sta. Elena Golf Club both within reach of the capital city Manila. There are also world-renowned courses sprinkled throughout the 7,107 islands of this tropical archipelago, including the Alta Vista Golf Club in Cebu, Apo Golf Club in Davao, Camp John Hay in Baguio, and Fairways and Bluewater Country Club on the island paradise of Boracay. Source: Golf Asia.
Singapore: With just a handful of golf courses, Singapore may not seem at first to be a competitive golf destination but it is quality not quantity that counts here. Laguna National, for example, can comfortably rub shoulders with Pebble Beach and St Andrews. Quality is also reflected in the dress code, which is strictly policed in Singapore both on the fairways and within the exclusive “19th holes”. It is also reflected in the fact that international golf tournaments are regularly hosted in the Lion City. Taking into account the superb facilities at top-notch clubhouses, some of which boast signature courses laid out on undulating tracts of prime real estate outside, any apparent lack on the surface peels away to reveal a surfeit of choice for discerning players. And in Singapore you can play golf at almost any time of the day or night thanks to the flood-lighting offered on many courses. Source: Golf Asia.
Thailand: Destination diversity, choice of quality courses, value for money, and the famous Thai smile and hospitality are key reasons large numbers of visitors come to play golf in Thailand. From the beach resorts in the south, to the highlands in the North, and the bustling cities of Bangkok and Pattaya in between, there are golf courses to suit every preference. Most of Thailand’s courses are designed with water features and strategically positioned bunkers, ensuring that golfers of all standards are challenged. Many of Thailand’s courses, such as Blue Canyon in Phuket, Black Mountain in Hua Hin, Siam Country Club in Pattaya, and Chiang Mai Highlands are comparable to the best in the world. Even so, green fees remain below many competing destinations, making Thailand tough to beat when it comes to value for money. Sources: Golf Asia, Golf Asian.
Viet Nam: Viet Nam has been named the “Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year” by the International Association of Golf Travel Operators (IAGTO). With its fascinating history, ancient culture, superb climate, and now its fantastic championship golf courses designed by golfers for golfers, Vietnam could be the ‘next big thing’ when it comes to golf tours in Southeast Asia. At present there are 25 golf courses operating in the country, with more than 65 projects at some stage of development, planning, and construction. Most established golf courses are in the south. In and around Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) there are five 36-hole courses, such as Vietnam Country Club, Long Thanh Golf Club, and Song Be Golf Club, twelve 18-hole courses including the exclusive Van Tri Golf Club and Tam Dao Golf Club, and three nine-hole courses. Vietnam’s capital in the north Hanoi offers the King’s Island Golf Club and Chi Linh Star Golf & Country Club. Source: Golf Asian.