There are certain rivers around the world that are symbols of life and culture of the countries that they flow through. They are the life bloods of their lands – the epicentre that everything stems from; rivers such as the Nile, the Rhine and the Ganges, to name a few.
The Mekong River is Indochina’s waterway – feeding from the plateaus of Tibet in China through Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Laos and Cambodia before meeting the South China Sea in Vietnam’s south some 4300km later. Its name comes from Thai and means “Mother of Rivers”.
Here in central Laos, the Mekong is more than just a waterway. In this landlocked country surrounded by mountains, this river is a vital pathway for the Lao people to travel the country, transport goods and to generate an income. The majesty of the Mekong is no more apparent than here in the UNESCO World Heritage township of Luang Prabang. Built along a finger-like peninsula, the town sits above the flowing river.
While visitors can get a view of the Mekong from the top of the embankment, there is nothing quite like experiencing river life from water level. A two-hour cruise in a long boat at sunset is a magical way to enjoy this stretch of the river.
Sit back and watch children playing along the bank; monks bathing; fisherman bringing in their nets or casting their bamboo fishing poles; the shifting light over the hills as the sun begins to set.
It is a peaceful and soothing experience – like almost everything else in Luang Prabang. Make sure you put it – as well as some kind of Mekong experience – on your Indochina itinerary.
x Sonia x