A major river in south eastern Asia, rising in eastern Tibet, flowing through Yunnan Province, China, forming the border between Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, and much of the border between Thailand and Laos, then flows across Cambodia and southern Vietnam, into the South China Sea.
At its source 5,181 meters high on the Tibetan Plateau, it-s called the Dza Chu (Water of Stone). In Southwest China, it-s called the Lancang Jiang (Turbulent River). In Thailand and Laos, it-s called the Mae Nam Khong (Mother of Waters). In Cambodia, it-s called the Tonle Thom (Great Water). And in Vietnam, where it spills into the South China Sea (called the East Sea in Vietnam) after flowing 4,200 kilometers through six countries, it-s called the Cuu Long (River of Nine Dragons). For those not living on its shores, it is generally known as the Mekong River and it is the 12th longest river in the world and has a water basin of nearly 800,000 square kilometers. Since at least the middle of the 19th century, foreign entrepreneurs and explorers have been trying to tap the riches of the Mekong.
Measuring more than 4000 km in length, the Mekong is one of the longest rivers in the world, and one of the least spoiled. Its waters teem with an abundance of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else and remain to be fully studied. For more than 5,000 years, the rich and diverse resources of the Mekong River Basin have sustained the people who live here. As the human population of the Basin continues to grow, the challenge will be to manage the Basin's precious resources wisely and ensure future growth.
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