Mekong River is the eighth biggest river in the world and ranks 5 in Asia. It originates from Tibet then runs down China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before it reaches Vietnam where it splits into 6 main rivers that also divide into a myriad of tiny canals and arroyos. In Tibet, it is known as Zi Qu, literally the river of rock. It only starts endorsing the name “Mekong” North of the Indo-Chinese peninsula.
The land known as Mekong Basin covers about 800 000 square kilometers. It is inhabited by almost 60 million people. The density, though, proves to be quite low compared to other rivers’ basins. For instance, the Red River Basin has a density of 1000 people per square kilometer while the Mekong Basin only has a population density of 450 inhabitants per square kilometers.
The river provides numerous resources especially in fish which is part of the basin population’s staple diet. However, the river’s potential is still not exploited to its maximum and the area remains quite poor. Since the river runs through six different countries, it has long suffered from a lack of cooperation in development policies, mainly because of conflicts opposing these nations. Recently, though, the six countries have started to collaborate with one another in order to insure a better and sustainable development of the territory.
Besides, the river now becomes a great potential for tourism. In Vietnam, many cruises has been run through Mekong river to help tourists enjoying the river and water there and the people’s lives along the river.