Part 1. Planning a trip up the Mekong River – From Phnom Penh to Pakse
Several years ago I began thinking about a trip up (or down) the Mekong River from its source on the Tibetan Plateau 4350 kilometers away from its delta near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. It’s a river diverse with flora and fauna, sadly under attack by countries along its length for its hydroelectric potential. Of course “hydroelectric potential” translates into damming the river.
Before the Mekong “disappears” under one dam project after another, I decided that I must see the river. The upper reaches of the river have been subjugated by dams in China. The lower reaches are still dam free although for how long is subject to discussion.
I am kicking off this discovery in early February with a leg known for its magnificent waterfalls in southern Laos and the Irawaddy dolphins, a endangered species that still lives in small numbers in this area of the Mekong River. I will be traveling by car from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Pakse, Laos. Along the way I intend to tweet my journey and post to this blog. The objective of the trip is to photograph the waterfalls, the river, and life along the river.
This trip will head north east via highway 7 to Kratie, famous for its small pod of Irawaddy dolphins, then thru the town of Stung Treng before crossing the border into Laos. Between the border and Don Khong are the mighty waterfalls that brought the French ambition to travel by ship to interior China to a dead end.
In Part 2 of this series, which I will post in the coming days, I will discuss the equipment I am bringing on this trip.