- Bhakti Rane
Emerging from Tibetan plateau's Lasagongma Spring, the Mekong carves its way out of China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and finally reaches her destination in Vietnam. Throughout this journey the river takes on many forms - from untamed turbulent rapids of China, the river becomes spectacularly calm yet wild in Laos and Thailand; and like an old dame is most quaint in Cambodia and Vietnam.
As the lifeline of Southeast Asia, the Mekong River hasn’t just influenced the nations through which it flows but has been the important source onto which they have evolved.
The greatest source of food, of trade and of life in Southeast Asia, the Mekong River is a stunning travel destination, one that offers a varied array of options. You can cruise extensive stretches of it on multi-country jaunts, including plenty of time onshore visiting remote fishing villages and illustrious capitals, meeting locals in traditional villages, and overnight stays aboard your comfortable cruise. Trust us, after reading this you’ll want to soak up this majestic river every which way you can.
1. Luang Prabang
This UNESCO World heritage city and the former royal capital of Laos is nothing short of wonders. From Golden roofed temples to colourful night markets, Luang prabang holds the charm of a quaint yet bustling cultural town. Start from Phou Si-hill, which offers a spectacular view over the Mekong, Khan river and the surrounding mountains. Later proceed to Wat Xieng Thong temple whose Gold tiled roof will dazzle you. Call it a day by wandering the lanes of Luang prabang or by visiting the night market of local Hmong minority.
2. Laos (All of it)
This land of Lotus eaters hides many treasures in its pockets. While Luang Prabang is the show stopper, other places such Vientiane, Pak Ou caves, Kuang si waterfalls are equally beautiful. Add to this scene the lush green landscape of Laos, meandering Mekong, loving and smiling locals, cute as a button villages and their slow life! A picture perfect country!
3. The Golden Triangle
The South East Asian Golden Triangle is where the borders of three countries - Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet at the confluence of Ruak & Mekong rivers. Since millennias this region has been the center of culture and political activities. The most beautiful part of the Golden Triangle lies in Thailand. This once notorious cultural circuit of Thailand has several Buddhist temples of Chiang Rai & Chiang Mai. There's also a museum dedicated to the erstwhile notorious opium trade.
From easy to spot Elephants to more elusive tigers, sun bears and flying squirrels; the Mekong is rich in biodiversity - precisely 800 reptiles & more than 400 mammals & over 1000 distinct species of birds. To put things into perspective, the Mekong is only superseded by the Amazon in terms of rich marine biodiversity. Apart from the endangered dolphin of the 4,000 Islands, this gigantic marine ecosystem is home to the 3rd-largest freshwater fish on earth - the giant catfish, stingrays that weigh half a ton and a plethora of exotic fish. Visiting this fragile ecosystem along the Mekong river is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences of all.
As for any region, people are what make any place alive and interesting. The eccentric culture, their traditions, dance & performance styles, really bring in the necessary character to any landscape. Along Mekong while Buddhist influence is prominent but the tribal culture too is abundant. From ornate headgears made out of coins and flowers to the Hmong tribals with their in-depth knowledge of the surrounding jungles. Cruising through Mekong you meet many such locals!
When are you joining us on our journey through the Mekong?