Every day thousands of tourists soak up life on the Mekong River, the seventh longest river in Asia.
They take cruises, stay at boutique hotels or tuck into a grand lunch at a riverside restaurant. The river is the most compelling reason they travel to a string of destinations in the six Mekong Region countries.
Yet it is in mortal danger as countries dam the flow, and that threatens the very existence of rural communities, the economy, agriculture, fisheries, essential transport and in recent years tourism.
Tourism is billed as a lifesaver that brings countless job opportunities and lifts towns and communities out of the poverty trap.
Thailand’s entire tourism strategy today revolves around the challenge of dispersing millions of tourists to second destinations, and many of them are towns on the Mekong River.