The natural mystique of the Laotian countryside has captivated the mind of many a traveller, and there’s no better way to enjoy its serene tranquility than on a boat tour of the Mekong River. The wildlife on display is unparalleled, as travelers can catch a glimpse of wild elephants, tigers, and maybe even a rare Mekong dolphin. The many communities that have sprung up over the years are a testament to the importance of the waterway for Laotian transportation and commerce, but also allow the visitor a rare window into a way of life that has remained in many respected unchanged for generations.
Beginning in the mountains of Tibet and finally depositing itself into the South China Sea, the Mekong River is one of the largest in all the world. Passing through Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia, the Mekong has played a major role in daily life for thousands of communities, and to this day is still put to practical use for agricultural purposes, transportation, and more. You will no doubt notice many other crafts while on the river, whether they be simple fishing vessels of Lao villagers or small barges ferrying goods from one village to the next. The river often features prominently in many local religions and customs, deeply respectful and thankful for the bounty it delivers.
The river narrows and widens throughout its course, at times seeming more like a lake than a river and at others coming to very fine bottlenecks. The surrounding lands change as well, from the verdant greens of rice paddies to awe inspiring limestone formations, all of which play home to enormous ecosystems full of exotic animal and plant life. Many predatory birds operate along the river, as do over 1300 distinct species of fish.
Like all Lao people, those who live in the communities close to the river are famed for their welcoming, friendly nature and peaceful way of life, totally in tune with their natural surroundings. Locals are always happy to see fresh faces, and might even be willing to act as impromptu tour guides around a local village. It should be noted that this is not out of some kind of cultural obligation for guests. Instead, it is simply genuine friendliness and curiosity. The Lao language is spoken throughout the country, but many people, especially younger ones, will speak at least some English.
Most visitors to Laos report the peacefulness and serenity of the country are amongst their favorite parts of the trip, and this offers an excellent alternative to the bustling metropolises in the region. For those seeking tranquility, a connection with nature, and the opportunity to learn more about a truly fascinating and delightful people and culture, a boat tour of the Mekong River is the ideal way to spend your holiday.
Original source http://www.vatphou.com/mekong_river_tour.html
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