Travelling down the Mekong River in a slow moving boat while watching the stunning surroundings glide past may well be one of the most memorable experiences while travelling through Southeast Asia.
Connecting six countries, various cultures and religions and countless small communities, the Mekong flows from the Tibetan Plateau all the way through China's Yunnan province, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam where it empties into the South China Sea from the Mekong Delta. On the way, it feeds, transports, cleans and entertains millions of people and provides sanctuary to one of the worlds most diverse ecosystems.
Realising the charm and attraction of such an experience, operators like Mekong Cruises in countries like Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam have started to offer river tours for the travellers wanting to experience life along the river. Depending on the entry and exit points these trips are the perfect opportunity to learn about the daily life of the various communities that live off the majestic river.
Many rural communities still live from farming and use the river as irrigation for their crops. These communities are often found on the flatland where the water is directed via small drains into the land providing for water in the dry period and draining the fields during rainy season. These villages often supplement their livelihood with household animals or by making and selling various traditional handicrafts at local markets.
Most the tours are arranged with the comfort of the visitor as a focus, and the boats often feature air conditioned cabins, western style toilets and bathing facilities, even restaurants and bars. Many boats also offer a more traditional experience and are made out of indigenous wood and with traditional design.
Original source http://www.vatphou.com/mekong_river_trip.html
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