The landscape along the Mekong north of Luang Prabang.
The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world and the 10th biggest in terms of volume. It is approximately 4180 km long. It has a tremendous affect on the lifelihood of millions who dwell along its banks.
The Mekong River has its source in the frigid Jifu Mountains in Tibet, about 5200 meters above sea level. Approximately half of its total length is in China, where it is called Dza Chu in Tibetan, along its upper course, and Lancang in Chinese. The Chinese also call its entire stretch the Meigong.
Buddhist novices crossing the Mekong on a canoe.
From China, the Mekong flows into Myanmar and Laos, where it forms the border between these two countries for 200km before reaching the Golden Triangle, at the border with Thailand, which is where the Ruak River flows into it. The Golden Triangle separates Upper Mekong from Lower Mekong.
Leaving behind Myanmar, the Mekong is the natural boundary between Laos and Thailand, before entering Laos. In both countries, it is known as Menam Khong, which means, the mother of all rivers. It flows through gorges which widens as the river approaches Luang Prabang.
The Mekong at the Golden Triangle. Thailand is in the foreground while Myanmar is on the opposite bank. The river on the left is the Ruak River, a tributary of the Mekong.
The Mekong once again forms the border between Thailand and Laos where is passes the city of Vientiane. After that it reverts into Laos again, before entering Cambodia.
The Mekong is also known as Tonle Thom, or Great River, in Cambodia. The city of Phnom Penh is located at the confluence of the Mekong and its main Cambodian tributary, the Sap River, which flows out of the great Tonle Sap lake. The Mekong has such a huge impact on the Sap River that every year in spring, the melting winter snow reverses the flow of the Tonle Sap River to empty into the great Tonle Sap Lake.
Beyond Phnom Penh, the Mekong folks into two. The smaller of the two is the Bassac River. Both the Bassac and the Mekong proper eventually flows into the Mekong delta, which empties into the South China Sea.
Fishermen drawing in their net on the Mekong, near Pak Ou Caves in Laos.
Thrill-seekers speeding down the Mekong towards Luang Prabang.
Sunset casts a crimson silhoulette over Mount Phousi at Luang Prabang.
Seen from the top of Mount Phousi, the Mekong is a quicksilver ribbon beside Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham in Luang Prabang.
Riverboats at the ready on the Mekong in the early morning.
Houseboats emerge from the morning mist on the Mekong.
Diners at a Mekong riverside eatery in Vientiane.
The confluence of the Mekong (background) and the Sap River (foreground) in Phnom Penh.
Tim at the riverside in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
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