Golfing in Asia

Whether you’re an old pro, an amateur, or a rank newbie, you’ll find a place to play the game of golf almost anywhere in Asia. From Singapore to South Korea, golf has gained tremendous popularity both as a relaxing pastime, and as a way of forging tight business connections.

Some of the best golf courses in the world are in places like Thailand and Singapore, with incredibly beautiful and challenging courses adjacent to luxurious resorts. Besides the golf itself, the surroundings are incomparable. Even in major congested cities, golf courses are set in gorgeous surroundings, often just out of town in a relaxing countryside setting. Many have been created by world-famous designers with consultation by some of the game’s most prestigious players, creating courses that stand out among all others. You’ll find all the amenities of the American course and then some, with excellent clubhouses, restaurants, and spa facilities. If you’re golfing your way through Southeast Asia, the heat may be stifling, but you’re never too far away from a relaxing glass of cold tea, and a comfortable place to sit in the shade for a while and enjoy the tropical scenery. You’ll find the service to be second to none, and in some of the courses, you’ll enjoy seeing some things you’d never expect at a Western golf course. If you’re playing near the jungle, you may just hear a high-pitched, two-tone cry off in the distance, and if you get a little closer, you’ll see a gecko crawling around the green. In Thailand, some golfers have been known to see a monitor lizard on the course from time to time-but if you do, don’t look at it, it’s considered bad luck!

Seal the Deal at the Course

Golf has always been considered a “businessperson’s sport,” but it is even more so in Asia simply because of the business culture. In most Asian countries, business is transacted on a much more personal level than in America. In Japan for example, it is very important to make a personal connection with someone before conducting business or making a deal. It’s never “just business” when you make a business trip to an Asian country, and if you go with a hard-edged attitude of getting right down to business, you won’t get far. More deals get made on the golf course there than in the conference room, and your Japanese counterpart will want to know you on a personal level before signing any contracts. This may take place over a few nights at restaurants and bars, a geisha house, and more often than not, a round of golf.

Many of the best courses are private, with open golfing limited only to a couple days a month. But chances are, if you are on a business trip, your Asian counterpart will have a membership, so you’re in luck. If business isn’t part of your agenda, don’t worry, there are still plenty of options-and if you sign up with the right tour guide, you may even still be able to get inside some of those exclusive private clubs. And the public courses are often equally stunning and beautifully designed, with greens fees that compare quite favorably to those in America.

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, you won’t have to look too hard to find a good course, wherever you may be. In legendary golfer Tiger Woods’ ancestral home, Thailand is rich with very well-developed and well-played golf courses, offering a very high quality environment at low cost. In many of the Thai golf resorts, the pleasures don’t stop at golf alone, with extensive opportunities for elegant meals, traditional massage, and the ultimate in relaxation.

Finding Golf Everywhere

Even in less-developed areas like Cambodia, you can find some place to play, so don’t forget to bring your clubs when you go to Siem Riep to see the magnificent Angkor Wat. India too, with is rapidly emerging economy, has a newfound respect for the game of golf, and courses are starting to spring up to accommodate the country’s rapidly emerging middle class.

And regardless of politics, golf still persists-and Communist countries are no exception. Vietnam has opened itself up to trade and tourism, and yes, you can find a good game there too. Despite the country’s war-torn past, Vietnam is a beautiful country with incredible scenery and wonderful hospitality. It has become a popular tourist destination, and the Vietnamese are very accommodating. The surroundings are varied but always exotic. And three hours or so outside of Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll find one of the top ten courses in Asia, right along the coast of the South China Sea.

When you visit India, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the vast array of golf courses, and in fact, India has had a long-held fascination with the game ever since the early part of the 19th century. New golf courses spring up on a regular basis, and the game is enjoyed by a surprisingly large diversity of people from all walks of life in India.

Golf Holiday Tours

If you’re a golf fanatic, you don’t have to miss your favorite game while on holiday. Several tour operators offer fantastic golf vacations that are all-inclusive. No need to worry about finding out where to go or how to get there, your tour operator will take care of all the details for you. And if you’re lucky, you may just find a tour package that gets you into some of the more exclusive clubs.

Part of the Package

Wherever you go in Asia, incorporating golf into your vacation is a wonderful way to see the country. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to incorporate golf into your family vacation or your business trip, because of the incredible popularity of the game and the wide selection of available courses. Also, many of the courses offer extensive amenities, and are close by to cultural centers, special events, and other prime tourist destinations. Golfing on holiday in Asia doesn’t mean you have to spend time away from the family-many of the courses are part of very large resorts that include a little bit of everything for everyone.

Top 7 Things to Do in South Asia

From majestic peaks to mystical religions, from ancient ruins to non-stop trance parties, South Asia has it all. Comprising some of the most colorful nations in the world this region has a multitude of offerings for travelers from across the globe.

A list of top things to do in South Asia could be endless but, as with any other list of this nature, who knows, you might just find the one holiday you had been missing so far. For this reason, the following travel highlights of the South Asian Region will serve as the perfect place to begin your quest:

1.Trekking in Nepal
Trekking in Nepal is definitely the number one thing to do in South Asia as the Himalayas is probably its most outstanding natural landmark. Not only that, it also forms a major source of life to the entire subcontinent, represented by the numerous perennial river systems born in these high mountains. Without doubt, it is the most challenging high altitude experience anywhere in the world that takes you through lush green valleys and precipitous gorges on the foothills of the highest peaks on the planet.

2.Backpacking across India
There is no other way to experience India – the most colorful and vibrant cultural capital of the East – than to go hopping betweentrains that cover the length and breadth of the entire region. But if you are not a fan of the bumpy train or bus rides and want more freedom of choice, hire a motorbike at one of the main citiesand enjoy a life changing journey through this vast, prolific land of contrasts.

3. Exploring the mangrove forests in Sunderban
The Sunderbans is a dense forest of mangroves and other tropical vegetation which thrives on the wet monsoon winds from the Bay ofBengal. It occupies much of Bangladesh’s southern half and some parts of West Bengal. The forest is spread over an area of about 4200 sq. km. and is the natural habitat for a huge collection of endemic species, most notably the eponymous Royal Bengal Tiger, whose population has dwindled to a mere 270 according to the latest census. To walk through this forest, you will need a permit from the Sunderban National Park.

4.Snowman Trek in Bhutan
A surefire entry to the list of top things to do in South Asia is the Snowman Trek in Bhutan, although it’s not recommended for the faint-hearted. It is a month long trek of epic proportions that takes you across Bhutan’s pristine mountains amidst some of the most unparalleled views you’ll experience in your life. You will cross numerous high passes, with an average height of around 16000 ft, feasting on the majestic snow covered peaks and turquoise lakes that are home to several species of wildlife like the extremely elusive snow leopard, blue sheep and yaks to name a few. It also gives you an opportunity to witness the culture of Bhutan, an ancient kingdom where man lives in eternal harmony with nature.

If you want to do this trek, contact a local company and they will take care of everything, although bear in mind that traveling in Bhutan is fairly more expensive than in most other South Asian countries.

5.Beach Holidays
If traveling overland is not your idea of the perfect holiday, don’t worry. South Asia has something for everyone. India, Maldivesand Sri Lanka offer some of the most amazing world-class beaches where you can simply grab a beer and watch the sun move across the sky. There are some world famous beaches in places like Goa and Kerala while the coastline of Sri Lanka and Maldives have remained untouched.

6.Yoga and Meditation
Before it took on the form of routine physical exercise, yoga originated in India as part of the Hindu philosophy of physical and spiritual self discipline required to attain enlightenment. Therefore, to learn the different forms and features of yoga from an actual yogi in India is nothing less than discovering its true meaning and purpose.

There are a number of options in touring India for yoga and meditation. One of the best ways to do this is to get enrolled in a yoga school. However, it is also possible to learn these things outside of a school by visiting a yoga retreat center or by exploring the real world of yogis in places like Varanasi and Hrishikesh.

7.Cultural Tours
The countries in South Asia are so rich and diverse in culture that you will find myriads of castes, religions and ethnicities in every corner of the region. So many of these communities have their own rituals, festivals, attire and food, which is a remarkable fact in itself. For an outsider, this diversity in culture and lifestyle can sometimes be so appealing that they actually live in those communities and experience those lifestyles on a personal level. It is a very common sight in any of these countries to find travelers from around the world who have stayed behind for long periods of time to learn new cultures in exchange of their own. A good way to do this would be to volunteer in one of the many social organizations in these countries.

Travel Asia

If you are looking for a change of scene as far as holidays are considered, try travel Asia for a truly unique traveling experience. Apart from being the largest continent Asia is also home to a cross section of intriguing cultures and myriad people from different countries spread across Asia. Traveling in Asia, is a unique experience in itself if you are ready to experiment with something new. A word of caution at the outset though, prepare yourself for the unexpected, ranging from the bizarre to the incredulous, from Elephant rides to animals on the street Asia, is truly a maze that you will find amazing!

Home to more than five billion people, Asia boasts of diverse attractions that would be difficult to cover in a single trip, though you could try seeing the best of the most interesting Asian features. Amazingly so, countries such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia Nepal, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Singapore, etc are all as different from each other as could be. Most of these countries boast of attractions like great scenic beauty, superb architecture, art and architecture, traditional fairs, bizarre costumes, mouth watering food and traditional customs and systems that are ingrained into the life of the people.

Travel Asia leaves most tourists with a breathtaking experience. When you visit India, you have a wide choice of things to do and see. From visiting heritage sites like Taj Mahal, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, and Khajuraho Temples, to Kerala’s backwaters, tigers in the Indian forests or taking an elephant ride, experiencing an Ayurvedic spa, or viewing the majestic Himalayas, you have it all!

While on a travel Asia trip make sure you visit China in order to visit one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. Visit there the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Potala Palace, West Lake, the Forbidden City, etc. Japan the land of the rising sun will fascinate you with attractions such as Kyoto’s Higashiyama area, Nara Park, Kin Osaki, and Himeji Castle. Your travel Asia trip would be incomplete without visiting Bangkok, in Thailand and Singapore two major tourist attractions in Asia which are not only cheap but extremely diverse in all that it has to offer. In Thailand you will witness lovely pristine islands, impressive monuments apart from other local flavors. Visit the gothic ruins in Bangkok or go shopping like crazy or relax by the Phukhet cool waters, its paradise all the way! The Singapore island kingdom is an amazing tourist experience from its ravishing street sea food culture to the botanical gardens, etc.

While on your travel Asia visit , it will be hard to miss out on the Philippines, with more than 7000 islands or Maldives too which boasts of the most pristine waters with different shades and more than 1,000 coral islands perched in the tranquility of the Indian Ocean.

A bit quirky at times, fascinatingly diverse and colorful at others the sheer size and immensity of travel Asia holiday will leave you flustered and gasping for more. If you want to truly experience Asia do local and soak in the vibrant culture you find on the streets, it will leave you with warmth and enriching experience that is hard to get over. Sheer diversity and natural splendor ensure that Asia proves to be a most rewarding holiday destination for all.