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The Mekong River is the longest river of Indochina and in many ways its heart and soul. Over 60 million people depend on this 4,900km waterway and its tributaries for food, water, transport and many other aspects of their daily lives. From its source on the Tibetan border, the Mekong winds its way through China’s Qinghai and Yunnan provinces towards the South China Sea. It forms the border between Myanmar and Laos and most of the border between Thailand and Laos, during which it becomes navigable. It then flows through Cambodia and into a rich delta on the coast of Vietnam.
The river connects these latter two enthralling countries in the most tranquil and picturesque way. Cambodia presents timeless scenes of rural life, floating villages and markets and, in the heart of the jungle, often overrun with vines and creepers, a majestic complex of temples including the remarkable Angkor Wat. Vietnam too has its traditions, amongst the colourful places of worship and the lush paddy fields worked by water buffalo, but also bustling modern metropolises like Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), where the vibrancy and energy of the country is thrillingly apparent.