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Travel Man's Watch: The Mekong River of Thailand

Updated on September 6, 2012

The Mekong Watershed

show route and directions
A markerMekong River -
Mekong, Cambodia
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B markerTibet -
Xizang (Tibet), China
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C markerMekong Thailand -
Mekong, Vientiane
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D markerVietnam -
Mekong, Kandal, Cambodia
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E markerMekong Laos -
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F markerChina -
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Mae Nam Khong

Mekong River (Mae Nam Khong or Mother of Water) is considered to be the largest and seventh longest river in Asia that starts from the plateau of Tibet then runs to the Yunnan province of China, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. It is second to the Amazon River of Latin America when it comes to popularity due to its trade route.

I am concentrating with the Mekong River of Thailand, part of more than 1, 435 kilometer source of water supply in six Asian countries.

It is a home to more than 1,000 species of fish that are now endangered due to the allure of development, especially the dam construction so that its water can supply irrigation and potable drinking water to the residents nearby.

What’s interesting with Mekong River are those giant fishes that are lurking to the remote part of the river. You’ll be amazed by the sight of giant catfish, giant stingray, giant Chinese carp and awesome fresh water dolphins that are threatened by the development in the area, especially in the village of Lao.

Those big fishes lurk at the river bottom, considered as predators on the group of small carp – a migratory fish that search on best spawning ground on the river – through the rough terrain of rapids as the river elevation alters.

The rapid changes in the lifestyles of modern Thailand are posing dangers to the existence of Mekong River.

Mekong River during sunset at Luang Phrabang, north border of Thailand (Photo Credit: Chmouel -Samuel- Buodjnah)
Mekong River during sunset at Luang Phrabang, north border of Thailand (Photo Credit: Chmouel -Samuel- Buodjnah) | Source

Don't build dams on the river!!!

Just of late, during the peak of dry season on February this year, a group of kayakers, headed by research scientist Dr. Sev Hogan of National Geographic braved the untamed surroundings of the Mekong River at the remote area of Lao.

Dr. Hogan and his team became authentic witnesses to the drastic changing features of the river due to human exploitation and the inevitable climate change.

They’ve been able to measure the depths of the river channels using waterproof gadgets, such as cameras. They have difficult times in traversing the rapids that prelude the falls, the place where migratory fish, such as small carps brave the oozing waterfalls.

Dr. Hogan was amazed of the crude but effective method of catching fish on the falls habitually done by local fishermen.

(Note: I included Dr. Sev Hogan's video about his stint in Thailand, featured at National Geographic, September 1, 2012)

Giant Catfish in Mekong River c/o cplai

Can we save the Mekong River of Thailand?

The only hindrance in the biodiversity of the river is the modernization of Thailand.

Building dams can push freshwater monsters into extinction.

Although it's part of the Mekong watershed,still, the Mekong River Commission that was created by the six countries should think of better ways (not building dams) in order to preserve its natural resources.

As modernization enticed politicians to sacrifice the beauty of the untamed river, they're now allowing private entities to exploit the natural resources that could be found in this huge river channel in Asia.

An appeal to the readers and the citizens of the affected nations where Mekong lies:

Don't build dams. Instead, organize river warriors that could protect the beauty and the ecology of the river.

Mekong River and its Monsters


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    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @MsDora: Thank you for heading my call. We really need to optimize the campaign on preserving the natural resources of the world. Mekong River is one of it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for this tour of the Mekong River. I hope the people cooperate with the efforts to preserve its beauty and ecology. Voted Up.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @rcrumple: Very well said, Sir! Most businessmen tend to grab the spark of money, sacrificing the ecological balance of nature's entities that are fully exploited.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @earthbound1974: Thanks for being concerned, too. Water supply around the world is dwindling.

      I'm sure it will not hurt anyone, if all of us will help in recovering what was left in all forest reserve and mangrove areas.

      Thanks for applauding my move. I hope concerned agencies will read my hub. :)

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Any place a dollar can be made, there will be the greedy there to make it, regardless of nature. Oh well, the faster we destroy the Earth the faster life will end. One wonders why others can't see that?

      Great Hub!

    • earthbound1974 profile image

      earthbound1974 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Alas! You added another advocacy on your shoulder. Good thing you are concern with what is happening in Thailand, especially the ecosystem of Mekong River.

      It is a must for us to be concerned about the existence of that river or even our rivers here in the Philippines that are becoming polluted because of people's carelessness.