The Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river and a crucial lifeline for many in Southeast Asia. Known as the Mother of Rivers (แม่น้ำโขง) in Thailand and Laos, the Mekong brings abundant food and resources to the six countries it touches.
The Mekong and its tributaries and distributaries form the Mekong basin, an elaborate watershed—an area in which the rivers, forests, and soil have a symbiotic relationship—that drains an area of 795,000 km2. The upper Mekong basin holds the river’s source in the Tibetan Plateau. Around half the river’s length flows through China, where it is known as the Lancang Jiang (澜沧江).