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In Images: Asia's Rivers and Waterfalls

| Words by Zoe Crane | , ,

The Mekong River flows through China, burma(Myanmar), Thailand, Laos, Cambdoia and Vietnam

An essential part of life for millions across Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and one of the world's greatest waterways. Enjoy this collection of 13 inspirational images of the Mekong River and the people that call it home.

1. Vietnam: the Mekong Delta

A family fish on a floodplain. Flowing through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, the river experiences significant changes in level creating vast lakes.

2. Vietnam: irrigation

The Mekong River is a source of fresh water, essential for farming and many other local industries - including tourism.

3. Vietnam: Tra Su Flooded Forest

Located in An Giang province, the woodland reserve covers an area of 9 square kilometers and is home to over 80 species of native bird including Herons, Storks and Swallows. Tra Su can be accessed on a day tour from the town of Chau Doc.

4. Vietnam: fishing

Traditional and sustainable, small-boat fishing remains one of the Mekong River's most ubiquitous sights and important trades.

5. Vietnam: deep in the Delta

The smaller the vessel the better. Exploring the Mekong Delta by boat provides an intimate insight to local life and the opportunity to delve into the Delta's lush and seemingly impenetrable scenery.

6. Vietnam: doing business

Away from the bucolic outer regions of the Mekong Delta travellers will find a thronging market-like atmosphere as buyers and sellers go about their business. This side of Mekong life is best seen in Saigon or Chau Doc.

7. Cambodia: Kampong Cham

Set on the lowlands of the Mekong River, this remote town is known for its pottery, this impressive bamboo bridge and the regional temple of Wat Nokor.

8. Cambodia: Phnom Penh

Cambodia’s capital city is located on the banks of the Mekong. A tantalising blend of old and new Asia, absorb the peace of the Royal Palace, learn about Cambodian culture at the National Museum or appreciate the sight of saffron-robed monks relaxing by the river.

9. Cambodia: Tonle Sap Lake

One South East Asia's largest lakes, travellers will cruise past floating villages complete with schools, restaurants and even a hospital. A 40 minute drive from the city of Siem Reap (home to the temples of Angkor), Tonle Sap is very easy to access.

10. Cambodia: the temples of Angkor

During the wet season (September to December) the temples of Angkor are just 45 minutes drive from the Mekong River making them a highlight on most river cruise itineraries.

11. Laos: the 4,000 Islands

Straddling the Cambodian border, the Mekong River breaks up forming a multitude of tiny, perfectly formed palm-lined islands. The area is secluded and empty – with any luck travellers are more likely to spot a rare Irrawaddy dolphin than a fellow tourist.

12. Laos: Mekong River cruise

Like vietnam to the east and Cambodia to the south, many regions of Laos can be explored by a slow-boat (often long-tail like this one) river cruise.

13. Laos: Luang Prabang

From northern Thailand, cruise into Laos' UNESCO protected town of Luang Prabang. Walk the French-colonial streets, join the locals for a game of Petanque and take in a Mekong sunset from a local monastery.

14. China: Jiuzhaigou national park.

While not a great river or waterfall, this little-visited National Park is dotted with crystal clear turquoise lakes. Nestled amongst evergreen forests and snow-capped mountain peaks, this alpine region is one of China’s most beautiful.

15. Laos: Kuang Si Falls.

The beautiful, tiered Kuang Si Falls can be reached via a small road about 45 mins from the UNESCO protected town of Luang Prabang. With deep pools set in thick forest these falls are the perfect way to relax.

16. Laos: Bolaven Plateau

Wild and remote, southern Laos has an enormous amount to offer the intrepid traveller. The Tad Fane waterfalls cascade over a 110 meter drop and are just one reason to visit this superalitve region of South East Asia.

17. Vietnam: Buon Me Thuot

Wild and remote, southern Laos has an enormous amount to offer the intrepid traveller. The Tad Fane waterfalls cascade over a 110 meter drop and are just one reason to visit this superalitve region of South East Asia.

A dazzling drive through terraced rice paddies and cotton, rubber and cassava plantations leads to the remote Central Highlands, revealing verdant tea and coffee plantations, the glimmering Buon Me Thuot waterfalls and colourful minority villages as you experience local life in a region rarely visited by tourists.