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The Mekong River

Listed under River Trips in Vientiane, Laos.

Photo of The Mekong River
Photo by flickr user Mat Honan
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Eleventh longest and twelfth largest by volume, the Mekong is one of the world’s mightiest rivers crossing Tibet, China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Rapids and waterfalls along its path as well as sections which are extremely narrow alternating with extremely wide make this a difficult river to traverse in one journey but it has been a very valuable highway for both trade and military action through out the peopled history of the Asian region.

Several springs feed into the river close to its source on Mount Guozongmucha (5,224 metres).

The Mekong has several particularly scenic stretches, including an area of deep dramatic karst gorges in China where it falls to only 500 metres above sea level and the Si Phan Don (which translates to Four Thousand Islands) region in Laos where the river is wide and silty and home to dolphins. Another section of the river forms part of the border between Burma and Laos.

Around 90 million people live off the river as does a huge percentage of the entire regions rice farming and around 1500 different species of fish live in it.

Most Mekong journeys begin or end in Ho Chi Minh City with its eclectically blended architecture; Buddhist, built on gracefully by the French colonial rulers, built on by modern Vietnam and all the influences of the west. From there a weeks comfortable river travel gets you to Siem Reap in Cambodia, just above the huge lake of Tonle Sap, in the heart of rice paddy country and the closest city to Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

From Ho Chi Minh the entrance to the Mekong delta proper is at My Tho, famous for pork noodle soup and from there the next stop is often Cai Bei, for its floating market, a market where both the vendors and shoppers are in narrow boats. Chau Doc is the next main stop, it’s at the junction of the Mekong and one of its tributaries and is known as one of the friendliest places in Vietnam, and is the closest river town to Mount Nui Sam and the Tay An Pagoda. Phnom Penh , Cambodia’s capital is the next main stop before floating out of the city and back into the rural regions round Lake Tonle Sap.

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

Other expert and press reviews

“The Mekong Delta”

By Allan Jenkins The Observer 14th October 2007 The idea of spending a Christmas Eve dawn-cruising the Mekong Delta before docking in Ho Chi Minh City had conjured glamorous images of Graham Greene backed by a Hendrix soundtrack. We joined the Spirit o… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from The Observer

“Vientiane, Laos: A lazy river runs through it”

By Tim Jepson for The Telegraph. First published 20th Ocotber 2008. ...Beer stalls, food stalls, market stalls, hawkers, musicians, jugglers and a vast fairground create a visual, aural and olfactory cacophony. Hundreds of tinny sound systems blare Lao… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Telegraph, 20th Ocotber 2008

“Cruise in Style along Laos' Mekong River”

By Ed Peters for Time First Published May 28, 2009 "A river runs through it" could well be the unofficial motto of Luang Prabang, the former capital of Laos that grants full meaning to the adjective sleepy. And cruising along the swirling dep… Read more...

Written by press. Continue reading on

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The Rhone starts its life on the Rhone Glacier in Switzerland and travels downhill quickly and with strong currents till it reaches Lake Geneva.

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