A wooden boat sails along the Mekong River in Laos, with forested mountains behind
26 July, 20192 minute read

An introduction to the Mekong

Winding 2,703 miles through Southeast Asia, the mystic Mekong is renowned throughout the world for its enchanting beauty. Flowing from its glacial source at Lasagongma Spring in the Tibetan Plateau to its mouth at the Mekong Delta (South China Sea), the Mekong runs through and along the boundaries of China, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, making it perfect as an introduction to the wonders of Southeast Asia.

The Mekong is the 7th longest river in Asia and the 12th longest in the world. It’s an invaluable source of life to the diverse populations that line its banks. What amazes people travelling along the Mekong are the rich and varied history, culture and attractions that can be seen and visited during a spectacle-filled adventure.

Witness the Wonders of Laos

In Laos, there is the beautiful city of Luang Prabang, a magical place filled with glistening temple roofs, French provincial architecture and bustling markets. Must-see attractions include the arresting Pak Ou Caves filled with ancient Buddha statues; the magnificent Golden City Temple (Wat Xieng Thong, built in 1560); and a glorious sunset behind the sacred Mount Phousi.

Experience Cambodian Culture

As the Mekong snakes its way through Cambodia it reaches the famous city of Phnom Penh, wherein the vibrant mix of contemporary and ancient culture never fails to astonish visitors. You can view the magisterial Silver Pagoda within the Royal Palace compound, the towering Wat Phnom Monument, a 27 metre-high Buddhist temple first built in 1373 and the National and Toul Sleung Museums, which provide a fascinating insight into the history and culture of the region.

Entrancing Visions of Vietnam

As we aim for the South China Sea, the Mekong river flows through Vietnam, becoming the vast watery landscape of the Mekong Delta. In the city of Can Tho you can sample the delights of the floating markets, soak up the history of the region in the Mekong Delta Museum and view the Khmer Pagoda. In the city of Chau Doc there are a huge number of shrines and temples to visit on Sam Mountain and it is only a short journey to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, in which the Cu Chi Tunnels of the Viet Cong complex simply must be seen.

As an introduction to Southeast Asia in all its vibrant diversity, a journey along the Mekong river is an unsurpassed adventure of a lifetime.

Image of blog author Nicola James

Nicola considers herself very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit a number of places around the world and these experiences usually involve searching for as many kinds of wildlife as possible. Recent highlights include penguins in Antarctica, bears and whales in Canada and Alaska and sea otters in California - but there are always more animals to search for.

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