Southeast Asia contains a numbers of waterways ranging from small rivers to huge lakes and many are exciting and thrilling to explore. But with so many of them how do you know which ones to visit. So at AsiaTrips we have complied a list of the top Rivers and Lakes that you should have on your bucket list when visiting this region.
Undoubtebly the undisputed King of the waterways in Southeast Asia is the Mekong River. Spanning almost 3,000 miles the Mekong starts from China’s and flows through Tibet, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before it merges into the South China Sea. It is the world’s 12th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. The river is famous for its huge variety of fish, including carp and catfish. The Mekong basin is one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. Only the Amazon boasts a higher level of biodiversity. For thousands of years the Mekong River has been an important source of livelihood for people and goods between the many towns situated along its banks and continues to be so to this day.
The Tonle Sap
The Tonle Sap is referred to variously as both a river and a lake – and in fact, both descriptions are correct. When the volume of the Mekong River quadruples in the May-October rainy season, the Tonle Sap absorbs the excess water and releases it gradually back into the river once the dry season resumes. The natural reservoir can expand to an area of 10,500 sq km, while the water level can reach up to 12 m. By ensuring fertile fields and plentiful stocks of fish, this unique natural phenomenon transforms the lake into one of Cambodia’s best-stocked pantries. As a home to more than 200 species of fish, 23 species of snake and 13 species of terrapin, it is little wonder that this lake and river system was designated a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.
Chao Phraya River
The Chao Phraya is one of Thailand’s largest rivers and is closely linked with the history of the kingdom. It begins in Nakhon Sawan at the confluence of the Ping and Yom and flows more than 370 km to Bangkok, where, along with the city’s criss-crossing canals (Klongs), it serves as a major thoroughfare. The river is popularly used by tourists for dinner cruises or leisurely journeys to Ayutthaya.
The Irrawaddy River or Ayeyarwady River is a river that flows from north to south through Myanmar. It is the country’s largest river and most important commercial waterway. Its valley forms the historical, cultural, and economic heartland of Myanmar. Because the Irrawaddy delta is one of the world’s major rice-growing areas, rice is a major item of commerce on the river. Also transported are other foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton, and local commodities. The Irrawaddy river is home to a large diversity of animals, including about 43 fish species.The most well-known of these species is the Irrawaddy dolphin.
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