Trivia: The Mekong

Did you know?

  • One of the world’s most beautiful rivers, the Mekong is only river that changes direction twice a year.
  • River cruise conditions also change with the seasons – the water level can rise significantly within just a few hours during the rainy Monsoon season and quickly drop during the dry season. The water level is often lower January-August and higher around September.
  • The Mekong is a major trading route linking China’s southwestern province of Yunnan to Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Glowing spheres of light are observable from time to time rising from the water’s surface in certain parts of the river. These are sometimes referred to as “Naga fireballs” or “Mekong lights.” The locals attribute the phenomenon to Phaya Naga, or “Mekong Dragons.”
  • The Mekong is the world’s 12th-longest river at 2,600 miles. It is the largest river in Southeast Asia.
  • The river forms the border between Laos and Burma (Myanmar) and most of the border between Laos and Thailand.
  • The earliest known civilization along the Mekong dates to the 1st century A.D. The first European to explore the river was Portugal’s Antonio de Faria, in 1540.
  • The name Mekong derives from Mae Nam in the Thai language, meaning “Mother of Water.”
  • In 2009, 145 new species were identified in the Mekong region, including two new bird species, five mammals, 96 plants, six new amphibians, and 29 fish species previously unknown to science.
  • The Mekong has more large fish than any other river, including the Mekong giant catfish, which can weigh up to 660 lbs. and grows to be almost 10 feet!

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