Brandon TuckerThis Week at TravelGolf.com: Dec. 11, 2008

During Thailand unrest, Malaysia's golf courses peacefully shine

When researching a new golf vacation destination, does it's political stability ever show up on your checklist?

Perhaps it falls somewhere between a resort's stay-and-play specials and the type of grass used on the greens.

Tourists to southeast Asia received a rude wake-up call two weeks ago when protests led to a sacked government and brought most services to a standstill. That included Bangkok's airport, which stranded an estimated 300,000 tourists as it stood closed for more than a week.

I wasn't in Thailand during the upheaval, but I was next door in Malaysia. Here, it was business as usual in the streets, hotels and airports - even as thousands of stranded tourists made the 20-hour bus ride to Kuala Lumpur from Bangkok.

Malaysia's not as popular of a tourist destination as its grittier northern neighbor. In fact, I didn't meet one other American (or Canadian) in more than a week there - which is a first for me on any trip of this length. One of our tour guides noted that hasn't always been the case, saying Americans used to come more than they do now. That's strange, because it's as welcoming of a destination to westerners as ever.

Both Thailand and Malaysia are awash in distinctive culture, are relatively cheap and are huge golf destinations with international-worthy courses and resorts, though Thailand often scores bonus points for it's renowned food, exotic beaches and more liberal lifestyle.

Meet Australasian golfers who frequent both on holidays, and some prefer the Thai golf vacation, others the Malay.

But Malaysia is undoubtedly ahead of Thailand for a few reasons, and during this trip, the most notable was that the government is stable and the people aren't restless. Less than 5 percent of Malays are unemployed and you'd be hard pressed to encounter a single homeless person in the city streets. Kuala Lumpur's airport is as good as you'll find in the world and the country's highway system is remarkable.

It's a little slice of civility in a region of the world that isn't always known as such.

So when looking into Malaysia, be wary of monsoon season - but rest assured its government isn't going anywhere.

As always, TravelGolf.com welcomes your comments.


Embassy Suites Altamonte 4-Night Package

Orlando Golf Package Specials Dates: January 7, 2008 - December 25, 2008

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Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and SpaThinking of taking a Texas golf trip? Remember the Alamo City

A colossal golf resort is rising out of the rocks on the northwest side of San Antonio. In the center of the Alamo City, a classic golf course is reborn. And near the city's major theme parks, are two resorts where the golf, food and pampering are all top-notch.

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Painted Desert Golf ClubA modern classic: Painted Desert Golf Club is polished, Las Vegas old school

As scores of golf courses have emerged in the desert in the last two decades, Painted Desert has become the polished, old-school favorite on the block. It's a great area value, and it's also located much closer to the heart of Vegas than many of the other newer courses.

Also: Vegas courses shine in Golf World awards


Homewood Suites and Indian Wells Golf Resort Package

Stay and Play Golf Package at Homewood Suites and Indian Wells Golf Dates: October 1, 2008 - May 31, 2009

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Grand Lido Braco Executive Golf CourseGolf in Jamaica: Consider Grand Lido Braco course a short-game warmup

You wouldn't want to plan your Jamaica golf vacation around the Grand Lido Braco Resort & Spa nine-holer. But if you want to get in a little golf, in two hours or less, before or after you jack up the adrenaline factor, it isn't a bad way to kill some time. consider it a warmup before hitting Breezes Runaway Bay or Ironshore.

Blog: Super golf deals at Super Clubs in Jamaica


CLIENT FEATURE

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