Mekong River flows through great area of Cambodia. If Tonle Sap Lake is the heart of Cambodia, Mekong River and its branches can be described as the arteries bringing oxy and blood for the land of Cambodia.
Starting from the border with Laos, Mekong River flows through Stung Trung, Krache and Kampong Cham, as flowing through Phnom Penh, it is divided into two branches: One flows into the Tonle Sap Lake, one crosses the border between Vietnam and Cambodia at Chau Doc and flows into Mekong Delta.
Mekong River in Cambodia flows through different terrains: huge lake and mountain in the north-west, plains in the center and forest in the east. Thanks to the sediment of Mekong River, Cambodia owns vast and fertile plains for growing wet rice and other agricultural products.
The first and the most outstanding characteristic of Mekong River in Cambodia is the formation of Tonle Sap Lake – the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. This lake is very special and interesting because its flow and its appearance change twice a year. From the November to May is Cambodia’s dry season when Tonle Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. From June, it starts raining heavily and Tonle Sap Lake banks up to form an enormous lake. Tonle Sap Lake is an important water supply for a great area of Cambodia.
Mekong River plays an important role in Cambodian’s life. It is not only the main water supply for agriculture and daily activities but also the abundant source of marine. People have inhabited along the Mekong River since prehistory forming a glorious civilization of Khmer with main producing activity of planting wet rice and fishing on the river, glamorous Khmer-style architectural works and unique festivals. It can be said that Mekong River in Cambodia is the starting point of Khmer culture which has put great influence on not only Cambodia but Khmer community in Thailand, Laos and the Mekong Delta of Vietnam for times.
All in all, discovering Mekong River in Cambodia is like a journey to the history, to find out the source of unique cultural values and enjoy the beauty of peaceful and charming land along the river.