The Oriental Danube-The Mekong River

The Mekong River, known as the Lancang River in China, is the heart and soul of mainland Southeast Asia. Over 60 million people depend on the river and its tributaries for food, water, transport and many other aspects of their daily lives. The river supports one of the world’s most diverse fisheries, second only to Brazil’s Amazon River.

Mekong river

Lancang River system mainly consists of trunk streams and a large number of tributaries, which contains 138 tributaries with the drainage area of over 100 square kilometers, 41 tributaries with the drainage area of over 1,000 square kilometers. It features extremely big natural fall which is from 2,000 to 3,000 meters.me1 The riverways of the upper and middle reaches of Lancang River go through Hengduan Mountains with streams, which forms dangerously steep V-shaped gorges with high mountains standing facing each other on both sides. In the lower reaches, there are lots of river valleys and dams along the river. In the riverway, there are dangerous shoals and rapids. On the mountainous area of the upper reaches, there is a large quantity of fir, and the middle reaches go through high mountains with rapid flow and narrow drainage area.

Boat Cruise

Cruising Lancang River, appreciating the scenery of Ganlan dam and feeling the rich custom and beauty of the Dai nationality villages are the highlights of touring Xishuangbanna. The flow path of Langcang River in Xishuangbanna is 158 kilometers. The cruise of Lancang River consists of 2 sections. The first section is from Jinghong to Tiger Leaping Rock, which boasts turbulent river water, changeful scenery, peculiar peaks, jagged rocks, various plants landscape and rare and precious animal ecology on both sides. The second tour section is cruising from Jinghong via Ganlan dam to the junction
of China, Laos and Burma. The low-lying Ganlan dam features wet and hot climate, which boasts tropical sight, such as the verdant scenery throughout the year, Ficus altissima like umbrellas, coconut groves, bamboo towers of the Dai nationality, fernleaf hedge bamboos, jack fruits hanging on the branch, banana trees and cactus.


In a remote corner of the world where few outsiders would ever expect to find Catholic communities, Tibetan, Naxi and Lisu1 peoples practice the faith in villages along the high altitude river valleys that are the sources of the Mekong and Yellow Rivers, close to the borders of Burma and Tibet. Villages like Cizhong (茨中), Cigu (茨古), Niuren (纽仁) and Xiaoweixi (小维西) along the Lancang River are a long way from the urbanizing, industrialized areas of China that most foreigners may think of when they imagine China, and their primary languages and cultures differ as well. Surrounded by steep mountains, some of which are snow-capped, Cizhong (pop. 400) is the largest of a chain of villages with significant Catholic populations in an area that has long been dominated religiously by Tibetan Buddhism.

River Market

These villages are legacies of an era of French Catholic rural missionary activity in the 19th and 20th centuries, though the present state of Catholicism there derives equally from the work of local Catholics to rebuild their churches and rekindle the faith after several decades of repression. Though isolated, the villages are undergoing significant change, with a major hydroelectric project underway along the river, new roads and tunnels, and many other modern influences.