The Mekong River is one of the most important river systems in Southeast Asia. Aside from the fact that it serves as link to 7 countries to which the river passes through, it has played a significant role in forming the history, culture and way of life for the people who live near the river. If you are planning a trip to Southeast Asia and would love to go on a river cruise (because it’s a must!), then you need to know some Mekong River information to give you a better understanding of what you are about to see and experience.
Introduction to the Mighty Mekong
The Mekong River is known by many names, but the mighty river holds the same value for those who live near it. The river itself stretches up to 10,000 feet in length, which starts off from the Tibetan Plateau. Then, the river snakes its way through China’s Yunnan Province to the Upper Mekong in Laos until it reaches the Lower Basin in Cambodia and Vietnam. In fact, one of the most popular tourist attractions for those who travel to Cambodia and Thailand is a cruise along the Mekong River. Most of the tourists who take the cruise are curious to know more Mekong River information with the help of guided tours.
The river is divided into two major parts (as the Mekong descends from the highlands of the Yunnan province): the Upper Mekong and the lower Mekong. When you decide to cruise the Upper Mekong River, you will start off your journey from China and then explore a long but narrow valley. Along the way, you will enjoy the sights of mountains and plateaus from the south western portion of China.
Meanwhile, cruising the lower Mekong brings you to the border of Laos and Myanmar. When you take this particular route of the cruise, you will cruise along the Khorat Plateau and the Annamese Cordillera in Vietnam and Laos. You will also be sailing next to Cambodia before the river distributes and flows through the main delta in south of Vietnam.
Season and Climate
Before you travel or go on a cruise, it is important to know key Mekong River information, such as the season and climate changes in the region. Most of the flow in the river comes from the rainfall. However, the direction of the river flow varies depending on the monsoon winds. The lowest flow is during April due to the drought of the summer. But starting May or June wherein the monsoon season is about to start, the flow of water to the river begins to increase.
The highest water level at the Mekong River is documented around August or September. Hence, tourists are advised to plan your trip accordingly. Some tour companies refuse to hold tours depending on the water level of the Mekong River and the prevailing winds and weather conditions. Hence, it is also important to research about the seasonal changes in the river before you book your cruise tours ahead of time.