• An Introduction to the Mekong

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    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 Mount Guozongmucha 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.

    A local in a small wooden boat along the Mekong River The Mekong River

    The Mekong is the 7th longest river in Asia and the 12th longest in the world and is revered by the diverse populations that line its banks as an invaluable source of life and livelihoods. What amazes people travelling along the Mekong are the rich and varied history, culture and attractions that can be seen and visited during the thrilling journey. A voyage on the Mekong is a spectacle-filled adventure that lasts long in the memory.

    Witness the Wonders of Laos

    What attractions are to be discovered along the Mekong? 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 the glorious sunset behind the sacred Mount Phousi.

     Pak Ou Caves in Laos

    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. Here visitors can view 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.

     Wat Phnom Monument

    Entrancing Visions of Vietnam

    At the close of its journey into 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 visitors 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.

    Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City

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

     Photo Credits: Pak Ou Caves: flickr; Wat Phnom Monument: flickr

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    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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