I often get asked how someone can arrange and go about taking a golf holiday in Thailand. While this is fairy obvious to those who live here in Thailand, it may not be so simple and can be quite intimidating to those who are not so frequently traveled and view Thailand as a destination halfway around the world (which it is!). Therefore, I though I would write this short guide covering the major aspects of a golf holiday in Thailand.
For anyone considering arranging their own golf tour, then there are a number of areas that you must carefully consider before proceeding. Obviously, there are some advantages of booking things yourself, with a cost savings of approximately 10-20% being the most obvious. However, this must be offset against the time required to do things yourself and potential problems that may arise.
Starting with accommodation, this is now fairly straightforward to select and reserve, with the internet providing an abundance of information and promoting special ‘internet’ prices. However, whilst you may think you are getting a great deal, this is not always the case and you should inquire about additional fees such as taxes service, service charges, minimum periods of stay and refund policies.
Another important factor with regards to accommodation is the location. Important criteria are such things as the location, where in town is it based, is it close to restaurants, shopping facilities etc, or any other preferences you may have. How is the location of the hotel for convenience in getting to the golf courses each day? This is, especially important in the more populated areas. The last thing you want is to be stuck in traffic both going, or coming back from a round of golf. If you are late for your tee off time and the course is busy then chances are you will not be allowed to play.
What about the golf courses – how do you evaluate and choose what is best? What are the busy courses and what are the quiet courses? What courses represent the best value and which ones are top ranked? It would be very disappointing to find out after your holiday that you did not play the best courses available. In addition, how do you check the condition of the course, is there any maintenance being done during your holiday. This is important information as you want to make sure you play at courses which are in good condition during your Thailand golf vacation.
Once you select the courses you prefer to play at you need to book tee off times. At certain times in the year it is better to play in the morning than the afternoon for example. You must ensure that you have this information and be able to reserve the best times to play.
The last major item to consider for a golf vacation in Thailand is transportation. This is very important as many of the courses located outside the main cities. Transport is by a reputable company with English speaking driver is a must for any successful golf vacation in Thailand.
To try to organize this from overseas represents the biggest obstacle to arranging a successful golf holiday. There are several options to consider. Driving yourself in Thailand is not recommended as the road system, and style of local driving is not quite as developed as say Europe or the United stares for example. Using taxi’s is not recommended on longer distances, and often the drivers do not know the way to the courses, which could lead to many complications, and often there is the additional problems with language. Hotel transport facilities are expensive leaving you with very few other options upon your arrival in Thailand.
Private tour companies are usually the best option and they can to provide private air conditioned ‘mini vans’, and for a slight additional cost they will provide an English speaking driver. They will transport you to the course and return you to your hotel on completion of your game, providing a complete and relaxing service.
This service is not different to what a golf tour operator will provide, although the potential costs can vary quite a bit. There are now many styles of luxurious and spacious mini vans that tour companies use, but there are still an equal amount of older style, smaller vans still in use, that are not ideal when transporting groups of golfers.
In summary, it is certainly feasible to arrange your own golf tour, but there are a number of potential pitfalls that you need to be aware of.
The option of using a local and specialized golf tour operator, will take all of these problems away, giving you maximum time to enjoy your golf holiday in Thailand.