Just as the Nile is to Egypt and the Yangtze is to China, the Mekong River is the very heart and soul of Southeast Asia. It flows more than 2,600 miles from its source in the Tibetan Plateau and together with the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, it forms the Three Rivers Area. The mighty Mekong winds its way through Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, then empties into the South China Sea.
The Mekong hosts some of the world’s most diverse wildlife – over a thousand new species have been discovered there in the last 10 years alone. The river is particularly recognized for its fisheries, one of which yielded a 600-pound giant catfish, the largest on record!
The Mekong is also known for its diverse topography. Lined with bustling cities and inviting beaches, ancient temples and entire villages built on stilts, the Mekong is best experienced on a river cruise. A few highlights along the “Mother of All the Waters”:
- Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s capital buzzes with its French colonial architecture, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, vibrant cafés and nightlife.
- Kampong Cham – The provincial capital of Kampong Cham in Cambodia, it’s dotted by more than 200 temples, some predating the Khmer empire.
- Tan Chau – Capital of its namesake district in southeastern Vietnam, Tan Chau produces beautiful silks.
- Sa Dec – Best-selling French author Marguerite Duras grew up in this Vietnamese river port, one of the largest cities in the Mekong Delta; visit the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, protagonist of her prized l’Amant (The Lover).
- Cai Be- This Vietnamese river town is noted for its spectacular floating market.
Luxury river cruise lines AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises all offer voyages along the Mekong. Many include overland stays in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap to visit the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat. Contact Covington Travel to plan your Mekong River cruise with complimentary Virtuoso amenities.
Source: Virtuoso Exotic Lands