Hi David – all over the jet lag and the self imposed “coronavirus isolation” – all well, no signs of virus!!!
In terms of feedback – I will call the holiday Part 1 (golf) and Part 2 (travelling)
- We had a fab time, the courses were wonderful. Buggies and caddies seemed a bit excessive, but if that is how it has to be done so be it!
- Hotels were all very special – especially the hotel in Cambodia – truly lovely. The Hotel in Hoi An was the “least good” – it was fine, and we were told we were upgraded to Executive rooms, but frankly if they were executive rooms, I dread to think what the ordinary rooms were like – rooms were small and very cluttered.
- We were very glad that we went to Hanoi for a few days before the golf otherwise we would not have been able to see Hanoi, and would have been straight into the golf the day after we landed. It was great to have a few days as a tourist to see and experience the culture.
- We did find that there was a lot of travelling on this part of the tour which we had not really expected – we think with better planning, a lot of travelling time could be saved – for instance playing Ba Na Hills course from Hoi An, when it is very close to Lang Co (where we stayed at the Laguna Hotel) – with hindsight it could have been better to play Ba Na Hills from Lang co instead.
- One thing we did think was that there was no need for a guide on the days that we were playing golf. The driver would have been more than ample. All the guides did was accompanied us on the bus on both journeys – and added nothing really!
- This part of the trip was really great – we had a good time, managed to keep away from touristy areas most of the time, and the hotels were very comfortable. Especially the hotel in Phu Yen (Son Cau) – that merits a special mention.
- We enjoyed the flexibility of the two different guides – Dang who accompanied us to Ho Chi Minh City and Tin who was our guide in the Mekong. They were both willing to be very flexible and help us to have the holiday we dreamed of.
- The downside was that the holiday was during the TET celebrations – we had not understood that everything will be closed for 7 days! If we had not been such experienced travellers and if our guides had not been flexible, it could have been very different.
- The towns and cities that we visited on this part of the tour were lovely – we were not so keen on Nha Trang (too touristy) but Dang was able to get a local guide who took us up into the mountains and forests and enabled us to do some wild water swimming – fab.
- We were surprised that we had to tip so much on this part of the holiday $35 (plus extra for the extra guides added in) a day was quite a lot on top of the cost of the trip. However, the guides and drivers were very good!
- Finally, just so you know, it was a good job we were able to make other arrangements for our golf clubs (friends took them home for us) as with TET we probably would not have seen them again at Ho Chi Minh City – everything was closed down – so it would have been unlikely that they left Da Nang!!
Hope this helps you to know more about the area and the tours. All the feedback is meant in a constructive spirit.
Warmest wishes, Helen and Viv
Hi Helen and Viv - thank you for the detailed feedback, thank God we got you home before COVID-19 spread across the world.
Morning David,This time last week seems like a long time ago, our last day at the Datai was spent on the beach, dipping in and out of the sea, the warmest sea I have ever had the pleasure to run into.Golf Asia were excellent, on no occasion did we have to wait for anything and the half day tour of Singapore was really interesting.Six senses in Singapore was lovely, a small boutique hotel in a perfect location, they did have a problem supplying gin and wine in the bar but this was down to the lack of shipment into the area, which as we all know was out of their control. They were very accommodating.The rooms were small, absolutely sufficient for a 2 night stay but to really unpack for anymore than 2 nights would have been a challenge.The Sanchaya was superb, the suites we were allocated were large and airy, it was good to get unpacked and settle in. Magnus was a charming host and regularly made himself available to discuss the work taking place with the pool, it wasn’t a problem at all.The golf courses on Bintan were very good, in fact as we were leaving Magnus did ask our opinion about the courses. He hadn’t really looked at promoting The Sanchaya as a golf destination but given the lack of visitors due to Covid19 the reliable traffic for a relaxing few days for travellers from Singapore was under strain. He realised he needed to diversify.We all thought Ria Bintan was the best course, Laguna at the bottom, however saying this the courses were all great, Laguna had the only real traffic, seems they have a lot of players from Singapore at the weekend so maybe going forward get players on this course midweek.The negatives for The Sanchaya. It was Singapore prices not Indonesia, alcohol prices really surprised us. Apart from golf there is very little else to do on the island, it seems focussed on the Chinese market. We didn’t use the beach on our day off as tar had been washed up over night, looked like this was a general problem and for that day we were told not to go into the sea.The journey up to Langkawi, ferry and flight all good and excellent service once at the Datai. What an amazing destination, there we no negatives. Our rooms were lovely (obviously not as big as The Sanchaya but we knew that and it was a completely different set up).The food and choice of food was amazing, the restaurants were superb and I personally couldn’t fault anything. The Els Club what a setting, wish I was there right now. The course itself is a real test of golf and we were all happy to play the course multiple times, it was a good challenge and the monkeys and wildlife on the course made it entertaining.If I were to go back to the area I would certainly go back to The Datai, I wouldn’t go back to The Sanchaya not that we didn’t enjoy it but it’s one of those places that once you’ve played the courses and stayed at the beautiful hotel there is nothing else to keep you going back for more, it was a great combo for our tour and next time The Datai plus another destination.Overall an absolutely fantastic holiday, thank you so much for all your organising and attention to detail we had a superb holiday and are already looking forward to Jamaica next year.Kindest regardsAngieSent from my iPhone
Dear Angela - for me that is as a good a there centre stay you could do anywhere in the world!
We had a lovely holiday, everything was great apart from the very start with the problem at the airport,
The whole hotel complex was more than acceptable, although not as good as those in Turkey. The golf courses
were very interesting and a great challenge, we ended up playing the new course on the last day because of some ones recommendation.
How anyone could design a golf course in that terrain is unbelievable. There were some very interesting holes.
Flights were ok both ways
Thanks Quentin, the Salobre Hotel is never on a par with Belek but may be has more charm and a more exciting outlook
Hi David,Angie will be writing back to you with fuller feedback from our 'tour party'.Suffice to say we had a terrific time. Thank you for arranging the timing of our vacation to coincide with the Covid-19 outbreak! As you say, the hotels and course were very quiet....scarily so from a locals perspective.....The Sanchaya and Datai were first rate in all aspects. Different establishments one to the other but that added to the overall experience - what was key was the consistent high quality. The virus had some impact on food/drink choice in Sing and, more so, Bintan ie. some menu items n/a, but understandable and not a negative for us.Six Senses was fit for purpose (especially for a couple of nights) so thank you for finding this venue for us. It's in a great location in Chinatown and very convenient for metro, sights, bars and restaurants. We liked Singapore a lot - never mind the humidity!Ange will provide you with feedback on booze pricing in Sing/Bintan!As for the golf course, what's not to like! All of the courses were in excellent condition.. Would be interesting to see how busy the Bintan ones get when the Chinese are back in force.....there's plenty of Chinese-owned accommodation already in place/going up......We found 1 caddy per buggy worked well in Bintan and they were well worth having.Ria Bintan was our favourite on that island but that doesn't reflect negatively on the others - all were a joy to play at.The Els course was superb.....a real test off the forward tees (and you were spot on re the extra 2 clubs- minimum)! We found the pro shop, caddy-master, locker team less efficient than at Bintan but again not a major issue.The girlz whooped us but frankly when you're having such fun on such great courses who cares!Great weather to boot.....only a couple of am or pm showery spells.....30-35 degrees every day.....Many thanks for organising such a FAB itinerary for us.All the best,John
Dear John - this was the best itinerary I have organised for a long time, thanks for trusting me and following in my own footsteps