Mekong River

Mekong River

Interesting Facts about The Mekong River

If there is a record for the longest river in the world and in Asia, The Mekong River will definitely rank on the lists of the top 15.  The MekongRiver covers an area of 2,700 miles which is the reason why it is takes the number 12 spot of the longest rivers in the world and the 7th longest river in Asia.  It runs from the Tibetan plateau and ends in the South China Sea.  The word Mekong is taken from the Thai and Lao origins Mae Nam Khong which means Mother of Water.  A fitting description to a river that gives life to the countries that surround it.  This river is an important trading route in Southeast Asia, specifically in such countries as Thailand, China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Fishermen in Cambodia rely on this water source for their food and livelihood.  Vietnamese farmers use the water to irrigate their crops.  Floating markets would never exist without it.  Laos has a controversial plan to build a hydroelectric dam on this river.  The controversy lies on its possible effects in the ecosystem.  This river is home to endangered species like the oceanic dolphin Irrawaddy.  These dolphins are slow movers but when startled their flight reflexes allows them to swim at 25 miles per hour.

For tourists who love fishing, maybe they can have the chance to catch the Giant Siamese Carp which is native to this River.  There is no need to be afraid of its size because it is not predatory like the piranha.  Freshwater Stingray can be found in this river as well.  In Ancient Greece, dentists used the venom from the stingray’s spine as a form of anesthetic.  As far as endangered species are concerned, the Siamese Crocodile uses this river as its habitat.  It was believe to be extinct until conservationist found baby species in Laos.

It would be interesting to note that construction has begun since 2013 of the Myanmar-Laos Friendship Bridge which connects Thailand and Laos.  River cruises and tours are popular in Thailand.  Take an 8 day Nong Khai Ubon Ratchathani cruise; it is the longest river cruise in the Kingdom of Thailand.  The activities include taking land excursions in the lively villages, Buddhist pilgrim sites, temples, and exotic parks.  Another option is to take a cruise in the colonial style river cruiser of RV River Kwai Cruise.  Get a chance to access unknown places to most tourists.  The same experience can be felt when visitors avail of the Mekong Explorer Cruise which has 16 comfortable cabins.

The Mekong River has its fair share of dangerous waters especially the area that flows towards Burma (Myanmar).  The area looks idyllic and calm at first glance but the real tension lies in the “businesses” by both drug lords and militia since they are known to hijack boats and kill sailors just to protect the drugs that they smuggle and other contrabands.  Even if there exists such areas still visitors cannot help it but be impressed about this Magical Mekong River.