A guide to golf in Thailand
This post has been written in association with golfbreaks.com
Thailand may not be the destination at the top of your list in terms of a golfing holiday, but maybe it is worth re-thinking that one! Golfers are beginning to realise that Thailand can offer some world-class golf at a very competitive price and it is well worth the 12-hour flight.
This Southeast Asia destination offers an extremely different way of life compared to a European break. Thailand is known for its superb nightlife, indulgent street food and cheap drinks, but very few know about the outstandingly good golf courses. The atmosphere in Thailand is a friendly and safe one too, with very small drug/crime offences and you will never be short of anything to do, with most towns busy 24/7.
Temperatures stay consistent throughout the year, with averages of 30-32 degrees. The chance of rain increases between May and September (low season) but don’t let that put you off travelling during the summer, because rates at this time of year are cheaper and when it does rain, it only tends to be 20-minute showers.
The two most popular golfing destinations in Thailand are Pattaya and Hua Hin. Pattaya is the nearest of the two destinations, around an hour and a half from Bangkok airport. Hua Hin is three hours from Bangkok. Golfbreaks can arrange all transfers and it is advised that you do not hire a car due to the hectic traffic. To add, one unique feature of golf in Thailand is that you will always have a female caddy included in your package price.
Laem Chabang International Country Club
Laem Chabang International Country Club is a world class, 27-hole golf course designed by the great Jack Nicklaus, and is set on 700 acres of natural mountain terrain. You will most definitely enjoy feeling close to nature on this lush, exotic course, as you make your way round three loops. These three loops are known as the Mountain, Valley and Ocean loops and will provide you with plenty of challenging shots.
This exceptional golfing destination is regarded as the finest golf course in Pattaya. Other facilities here include a clubhouse with a Thai and international menu, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a golf lodge. You may remember this course for hosting the 2001 Volvo Classic.
Siam Country Club
Founded in 1968, Siam Country Club in Pattaya initially hosted just one golf course. Fast-forward almost 50 years and Siam Country Club is the home of three outstanding golf courses. These are the Old Course, the Plantation Course and the Waterside course that opened in 2014. In 2007, the Old Course became the host venue of the Honda LPGA Thailand championship.
Banyan Golf Club
Despite only opening in 2008, Banyan Golf Club in the Hua Hin region of Thailand has rose to the top of the golf course rankings and offers golfers a world-class golfing experience. Featured in the Top 1000 courses in the world by Rolex, Banyan’s 18-hole championship golf course offers some truly spectacular and testing holes, in an idyllic setting. The par-3 15th hole is the signature hole, as it offers gorgeous views over the ocean.
The unique, contemporary Thai design clubhouse has excellent facilities, combined with an outstanding restaurant and equally outstanding views. The spectacular sunset views of the Burmese mountains from the clubhouse make it an even more memorable experience for every golfer.
Black Mountain Golf Club
Black Mountain Golf Club is everything you would expect from a world-class golf resort, and more. This golf course is the only course in Thailand to ever be named in Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses Outside the US and plays host to the True Thailand Classic every year, an event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.
The course is situated on stunning terrain and features interconnected waterways and undulating fairways and greens, in a breath-taking natural landscape. Architect Phil Ryan designed the course of 7,420 yards and was later rebuilt by Notloöv & Edfors. One unique feature of this course is the landscaping with native red grass, which not only creates a hazard for the wild shots, but also frames the holes.
Where to stay?
You won’t have a problem finding somewhere to stay in Thailand as there are major hotel chains in the towns, such as Hilton, Marriott, Amari and Centara. On top of this, Golfbreaks can also some excellent villa/self-catered options.
Black Mountain Golf Club & Resort 5*
Nestled in the foothills of the valleys are private and artistically designed pool villas that are perfect if you’re looking for a hideaway for a weekend or a couple of weeks. The villas have a great location and are characterised by outstanding dining facilities for the pleasure of the modern traveller.
For those who stay on the Black Mountain Resort, there is a discount on green fees that you can take advantage of. On top of this, there is also a water park, spa, tennis courts, volleyball courts, miniature golf and a wakeboard park.
Amari Garden Pattaya 4*
The Amari Garden 4* hotel is situated in the tranquil northern end of Pattaya and is set within lush tropical gardens; just a stones throw from the sea and Pattaya Beach. This hotel is also just a short walk from the bustling beach town’s most popular attractions.
With 226 guest rooms and suites to choose from, you should not have a problem getting a room in this outstanding hotel if you book in advance.
Hilton Pattaya 5*
The Hilton Hotel Pattaya soars 34 levels above Pattaya’s Central Festival Pattaya Beach and Southeast Asia’s largest beachfront shopping complex. This award-winning hotel offers contemporary luxury alongside instant access to beaches, shops, restaurants and attractions.
The Hilton Pattaya also features a landscaped outdoor infinity pool, a 24-hour fitness centre and a spa. Other than golf courses, the hotel is also in close proximity to water sports and horse riding.
Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas
The Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas offer rooms and suites that reflect the living heritage of the hotel and its era, with high ceilings, polished hardwood flooring and period furniture, softened by the rich, warm tones of Thai silk. You will most definitely feel like royalty if you stay in this hotel.
On top of this, located in a quiet area of the resorts huge expanse of gardens, and served by a separate swimming pool and children’s pool, the resort also offer 42 single-storey villas. There is a choice of a Jacuzzi or plunge pool on the terrace, and the villas have their own concierge services.
What to do?
Obviously, you’re not going to be on the golf course 24/7 and many of us don’t like to be locked up in a hotel room for the rest of the holiday, so what else can you do?
If nightlife is an important factor when booking a holiday, then look no further than Pattaya as the nightlife here is world famous. The main street is called Walking Street and here is where you will see the bright glare of its overlapping neon signs for bars and clubs. Known as the “mile of madness,” South Pattaya is an assault on the senses and is 100% the racing heart of the nightlife on the entire eastern seaboard of Thailand.
If sightseeing is your thing, then why not take advantage of the floating market in Hua Hin and search for the delicious local food. The Amphawa canal is brimming with visitors and stalls that sell souvenir, local spices and clothes. You can enjoy the cosy atmosphere as you take a boat tour and explore the surrounding canals and temples along the river.
The Sanctuary of Truth is often a favourite of those looking to experience a bit of culture. This site offers uncompromised architecture, on top of elephants and horse drawn carriages and traditional Thai dancing.
When in Thailand, you must visit the street markets that are found in most towns as you will get to taste some fantastic local cuisine. There is everything such as various curries and fresh fish. English is widely spoken in most places so you don’t need to worry about the language barrier and potentially ordering the wrong meal.
How to get there?
The flight to Bangkok International Airport is around 12 hours from London, with numerous airlines such as British Airways and Thai Airways offering direct flights. Alternatively, you can go via Dubai with Emirates and potentially play golf there too. Golfbreaks can book any flight to go with a golf package, including a multi-stay package that combines golf in Dubai and Thailand.
It is advised that you take advantage of transfers, as the traffic is hectic in Thailand and completely different to that in Europe.
For more information on golf holidays to Thailand, please visit golfbreaks.com - Click here