Mekong River Thailand

Mekong River Thailand tours and cruises have all the advantages that the country's relatively sophisticated tourism infrastructure provides. Tourism here has been strong for much longer than in the other Southeast Asia countries where Mekong River travel occurs, because this country escaped much of the conflict that plagued the other countries in the 1960s and 1970s during the time and aftermath of the American Vietnam War. It is only in the last two or three decades that Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Vietnam really opened to foreign visitors in any practical way. These countries (especially Vietnam) are catching up rapidly, but you will still find that Mekong Thailand has a greater number and wider variety of hotels, ships doing Mekong River cruises, and tourist facilities.

The Mekong River in Thailand flows only along the border with Laos. Some stretches are exclusive part of the Mekong River in Laos, and not Thailand, but the two countries share a sizable length of navigable river, which is known under different names in different countries. It is called Mae Nam Khong in Thailand. Two relatively recent bridges that are called the First and Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge span the river and connect Laos and Thailand. Two other bridges are currently planned or under construction.

Mekong River travel in Thailand occurs all over the eastern portion of the country, beginning in the north where the Golden Triangle and the lovely cities of Chang Mai and Chang Rai are located all the way to the south where it flows into the Mekong RIver in Cambodia. The Upper Mekong River Thailand in the north provides perhaps the most fascinating and diverse part of the river basin. Here it is mountainous and is the homeland for several ethnic peoples called Hill Tribes. Some tours and Mekong River cruises will visit these people, sometimes staying overnight in remote villages. This is also an excellent region for cycling, mountain biking, and hiking tours. This is also the area where the mysterious Naga Fireballs are seen each year.

Mekong River travel has historically been a vital link between all of the countries through which the river flows. It still is today, especially for countries like Laos, which has few good roads and where the river runs down the entire length of the long, skinny country. Although the Mekong River Thailand flows only in its eastern portion, it is along this river valley that so many of the priceless ancient temples and other attractions of the country are located. Another important river in Thailand is the Chao Phraya, which flows through the capital city of Bangkok and is part of a vast river system in the western part of the country. This is the largest watershed in Thailand, covering nearly 40 percent of the country's area and as important in the west as the Mekong is to the east. Perhaps the most famous river in Thailand is the River Kwai, immortalized in the classic 1957 film Bridge on the River Kwai about the World War II building of the Burma Railway by Allied prisoners of war.

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