At 4,800 kilometers, the Mekong River flows through six countries in the heart of Southeast Asia. It is the regionâ€™s longest river, stretching from its source in Tibet to the delta of Vietnam. Over 60 million people depend on the Mekong and its tributaries for food, water, transportation and many other aspects of their daily lives and accordingly the river holds a special cultural significance. The river also supports one of the worldâ€™s most diverse fisheries, second only to Brazil's Amazon River.
For 234 kilometers the Mekong forms the border between Burmaâ€™s Shan State and Laos. This stretch includes the infamous â€śGolden Triangleâ€ť, or where Burma, Laos and
Thailand meet, which has been known for illicit drug production. Over 22,000 primarily indigenous peoples live in the mountainous region of this isolated stretch of the river in Burma. The main ethnic groups are Akha, Shan, Lahu, Sam Tao (Loi La), Chinese, and En.
The Mekong River has a special significance for the Lahu people, who, like the Chinese, call it the Lancang. According to legends, the first Lahu people came from the riverâ€™s source and traditional songs and sayings are filled with references to the river.
To see the Water Resources eAtlas for the Mekong click here
To learn more about developments along the Mekong in Burma, you can read Undercurrents
To learn more about the Mekong in general please visit http://livingriversiam.org
Other websites about the Mekong: