Having started our tour in the relaxing tropical haven of Langkawi and continued to a surprisingly enjoyable cultural and golfing experience in Cambodia, one we all agreed far surpassed our expectations, we jetted into the infamous area of Pattaya via Bangkok for a very different and livelier experience. Having travelled all day we dined in the seclusion of our hotel the first evening. Maybe the recommended restaurant the following evening, “Cabbages and Condoms”, sums up the experience of Pattaya and Walking Street where we ventured following dinner. Here you can wander amongst, in complete safety I should add, or sit with a cool beer and watch a somewhat different world unfold!
Our guide, Cathy, took us to a very local restaurant the following evening, without her, we would neither have found it or been able to order, what turned out to be really good fare. She repeated the experience in Bangkok where we travelled through tiny back streets before emerging on the riverside for a similar and again superb local meal.
The Royal Cliff Grand Hotel, set on the cliffs on the outskirts of town, gave us a wonderful panorama from the 14th floor club sea view rooms. While large, the hotel proved very comfortable serving excellent breakfasts on the terrace. On our free day from golf we sped away from the hotels private beach for an exhilarating 40 min speed boat ride to the island of Koh Lann. A lazy morning on this small tropical island was followed by an excellent fish lunch overlooking the beach and various water activities before returning to the hotel for more R & R to prepare for a further two rounds of golf.
Burapah G.C. was our opening round in Pattaya where as usual we played a team event won by Duncan, Ivan and Andrew, and commenced a 54 hole individual stableford. Maggie led the way with a good 34 points and went on to win the ladies prize. St Andrews 2000 followed and what a wonderful experience it was. Unlike “The” St Andrews, it was very undulating, tree lined with many pot bunkers set into the hillside of raised greens and very reminiscent of some inland Scottish courses. The team event was won by Duncan, Arnold and Vic, while most were still in the mix for the individual event. The final round in Pattaya was played at a Nicklaus design, Laem Chabang Int’l CC. A good but relatively tame first nine here is followed by a wonderful second nine, meandering through trees, around and across water hazards which was going to bring home a worthy winner. Andrew prevailed in the 54 hole individual and yours truly ably assisted by Liz and Rae led the team scores.
The first tee at The beautiful Alpine Resort. Arnold plays with a fade, so not his favourite opening tee shot!! ( for the record he missed it)
And so on to our final destination, Bangkok and the last two rounds of golf of the tour. Accommodation was in the 5 star Anantara Riverside Resort Spa set on the opposite side of the river to main down town Bangkok. The hotel have a complementary ferry service taking approx 15 mins to the main centre during the day and to a newer tourist area in the evenings offering a wide choice of western and Thai restaurants and of course the inevitable Irish Pub!
Our two days golf were interspersed by a half day tour of Bangkok. We left the hotel pier by long-tail motor boat, meandered down the river and through canal locks giving a fascinating insight of the river trade and transport system in the city. Once back in the city we disembarked and visited the Grand Palace. Surrounded by 1900 meters of wall built in 1782 it is an amazing area of Temples and Palaces much of it covered in real gold. Once the Royal Palace, now government buildings and home to the Chapel Royal of the Emerald Buddah.
The final two days golf were played at Suwan G&C.C. and Alpine Resort. Both courses were in superb condition and a fitting conclusion. Suwan team event was won by Trisha, Rae, Duncan and Arnold, while the four ball better ball at Alpine was won with an excellent 42 points by Liz and Ivan two points clear of Maggie and Arnold. Duncan finishing two points ahead of Ivan in the individual 36 hole stableford.
Our next Tour to Asia commences 7th November when we return to Mission Hills in China, simply the most amazing golf resort I have ever visited, Hainan Island, where we will re-visit Yalong Bay on the southern most coast of the South China Sea and the new Mission Hills sister resort which I understand is a complex of some 12 courses that have sprung up in just 4 years since we were last there! The tour will conclude with 3 days in Hong Kong.
We hope you can join us.
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