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This is the story of the Mekong river, as it crosses the countries of Southeast Asia, a region full of legends and forgotten cities, lost empires whose remains have survived to the present day, and tribes hidden in the depths of the jungle. But it is also a land scarred by the horrors of human savagery.
As the Mekong enters Laos, the first city it encounters is Luang Prabang. It stands at an altitude of 700 metres, and is only now starting to come back to life, and entering the modern world, after several decades of wars and revolutions.
After crossing the territory of Laos, the waters of the Mekong enter a country plagued by violence and poverty, Cambodia. This is Angkor, "the city of the sleeping forest", one of the most incredible architectural monuments on earth.
Before Mekong coming to an end, the water will continue flowing into the China Sea, in Vietnam. The river forms an extensive and complex delta, known as The Nine Dragons. A network of 5,000 kilometres of natural and artificial canals carries the waters to the rice fields. Cantho is the largest city in the delta with a large population.
Mekong River Commission
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National Geographic Fellow Zeb Hogan spends his life protecting the endangered fish that call these waters home. Zeb Hogan explains in this video about his experience in Mekong River. The plight of endangered freshwater fish is often overlooked. Thus, Zeb Hogan is on a quest to endear these fish to people around the world in hopes of protecting these colossal underwater creatures.
Upstream Mekong River changes through dam building and water usage could have serious consequences on downstream environments, in particular the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Considered the rice basket of Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is already at grave risk through climate change sea level rise and intense local development. Find out Mekong Delta citizens concerns about these risks and how are they determined to adapt and survive.