Just an Idea at this stage. Thoughts are to start from Mae Sai, northern Thailand where the foot of the Himalayas can be seen, the source of the Mekong. Travel a short distance over land to Laos and down the Mekong into Cambodia, finishing at the capital Phnom Penh in time for Bon Om Tuk, Cambodia’s water festival.
October / November, the water will be high high and at its most spectacular. The worst time for flooding is the October full moon, so there will still be a risk. The Mekong is mostly inland, away from the worst of the monsoon rains as they hit Vietnam to the east.
Last year I had my annual motor bike trip around Cambodia, time spent scouting locations for night photography / time lapse. At that time I was looking for iconic structures, not realising the most spectacular natural subject even though we rode along most of it in Cambodia, the river Mekong its self.
If a few people are interested I will research and put together an itinerary. If not, I may just jump on my motor bike and go. Which ever way, I’m warming to the idea.
Initial thoughts are to start on the new moon, having dark skies when up north, the water festival is on the full moon, giving approximately two weeks to cover quite a distance. I would want to spend time at good locations, and perhaps to fly some of the journey so as to save time.
Travel options are open at the moment, preferable to do quite a bit on boat. I understand some parts are now impassable due to the construction of dams. Other options include going into China and / or down to the mekong delta through Vietnam.
Things will probably change. Would be a great project.
Update Jan 2007
The visa rules for free entry into Thailand have changed to only 2 free entries per year. With an imminent shopping trip to Bangkok for camera related gear, I’m thinking of skipping the Thai part of this trip & concentrating on Laos.
And some info from Lannatrav on the thorntree forum, cheers!
“Some good Mekong view roads are both above and below Huay Xay – above is nice paved road going up to Ton Pueng and the casino area – below town and the bridge it’s a dirt road down to Pak Tha. On the Thai side there are good Mekong view paved roads both east and west of Nong Khai such as Hwy 211 from Nong Khai to Pak Chong. Also a paved road from Pak Beng north to the new bridge and south I see a new dirt road but haven’t cycled it yet but it s/b quiet for sure. Luang Prabang doesn’t have much along the river. Vientiane has roads both north and south along the Mekong.”