In Images: Asia's Rivers and Waterfalls
An essential part of life for millions across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and one of the world's greatest waterways. Enjoy this collection of 13 inspirational images of the Mekong River and the people that call it home.
1. VIETNAM: THE MEKONG DELTA
A family fishing in the Flooding Season
A family fish on a floodplain. Flowing through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, the river experiences significant changes in level creating vast lakes.
2. VIETNAM: IRRIGATION
The Mekong River is a source of fresh water, essential for farming and many other local industries - including tourism.
3. VIETNAM: TRA SU FLOODED FOREST
Tra Su Flooded Forest, An Giang, Vietnam
Located in An Giang province, the woodland reserve covers an area of 9 square kilometers and is home to over 80 species of native bird including Herons, Storks and Swallows. Tra Su can be accessed on a day tour from the town of Chau Doc.
4. VIETNAM: FISHING
Fisherman casting his net on the river at sunset
Traditional and sustainable, small-boat fishing remains one of the Mekong River's most ubiquitous sights and important trades.
5. VIETNAM: DEEP IN THE DELTA
Mekong Delta, Vietnam
The smaller the vessel the better. Exploring the Mekong Delta by boat provides an intimate insight to local life and the opportunity to delve into the Delta's lush and seemingly impenetrable scenery.
6. VIETNAM: DOING BUSINESS
Floating Market in Can Tho, Vietnam
Away from the bucolic outer regions of the Mekong Delta travelers will find a thronging market-like atmosphere as buyers and sellers go about their business. This side of Mekong life is best seen in Saigon or Chau Doc.
7. CAMBODIA: KAMPONG CHAM
The Bamboo Bridge in Kampong Cham, Cambodia
Set on the lowlands of the Mekong River, this remote town is known for its pottery, this impressive bamboo bridge and the regional temple of Wat Nokor.
8. CAMBODIA: PHNOM PENH
Phnom Penh’s Central Pagoda, Cambodia
Cambodia’s capital city is located on the banks of the Mekong. A tantalizing blend of old and new Asia, absorb the peace of the Royal Palace, learn about Cambodian culture at the National Museum or appreciate the sight of saffron-robed monks relaxing by the river.
9. CAMBODIA: TONLE SAP LAKE
Floating House - Tonlé Sap Lake in Siem Reap, Cambodia
One South East Asia's largest lakes, travelers will cruise past floating villages complete with schools, restaurants and even a hospital. A 40 minute drive from the city of Siem Reap (home to the temples of Angkor), Tonle Sap is very easy to access.
10. CAMBODIA: THE TEMPLES OF ANGKOR
Angkor Wat Complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia
During the wet season (September to December) the temples of Angkor are just 45 minutes drive from the Mekong River making them a highlight on most river cruise itineraries.
11. LAOS: THE 4,000 ISLANDS
4,000 Islands in Laos
Straddling the Cambodian border, the Mekong River breaks up forming a multitude of tiny, perfectly formed palm-lined islands. The area is secluded and empty – with any luck travelers are more likely to spot a rare Irrawaddy dolphin than a fellow tourist.
12. LAOS: MEKONG RIVER CRUISE
Vang Vieng's Limestone Karsts Landscape, Laos
Like Vietnam to the east and Cambodia to the south, many regions of Laos can be explored by a slow-boat (often long-tail like this one) river cruise.
13. LAOS: LUANG PRABANG
Luang Prabang Town from the top, Laos
From northern Thailand, cruise into Laos' UNESCO protected town of Luang Prabang. Walk the French-colonial streets, join the locals for a game of Petanque and take in a Mekong sunset from a local monastery.
14. LAOS: KUANG SI FALLS
Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang, Laos
The beautiful, tiered Kuang Si Falls can be reached via a small road about 45 mins from the UNESCO protected town of Luang Prabang. With deep pools set in thick forest these falls are the perfect way to relax.
15. LAOS: BOLAVEN PLATEAU
Bolaven Plateau, Laos
Wild and remote, southern Laos has an enormous amount to offer the intrepid traveler. The Tad Fane waterfalls cascade over a 110 meter drop and are just one reason to visit this superalitve region of South East Asia.
16. VIETNAM: BUON ME THUOT
Buon Me Thuot, Vietnam
Wild and remote, Southern Laos has an enormous amount to offer the intrepid traveler. The Tad Fane waterfalls cascade over a 110 meter drop and are just one reason to visit this superalitve region of South East Asia.
A dazzling drive through terraced rice paddies and cotton, rubber and cassava plantations leads to the remote Central Highlands, revealing verdant tea and coffee plantations, the glimmering Buon Me Thuot waterfalls and colorful minority villages as you experience local life in a region rarely visited by tourists./.