Chruoy Changvar: 22 Aug 2003


River of Life

The Lower Mekong River Basin, spanning over Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam,  is home to approximately 60 million people. Most basin inhabitants are rural farmers and fishermen, and while they may be resource rich, they are money poor. One third of the population live on less than a few dollars per day. What makes life tolerable for these people are the aquatic resources provided by the basin's rivers and wetlands.



With weeds overgrowing, a sense of curiosity and nostalgia overcomes me when I stumbled upon this old wat within a school compound.


The Red Door

The typical serpentine sentries, and intricate motifs caved on the walls and parapets. 


Crossing the River

Boat ferries like the above are the most typical means of crossing the Mekong and it's tributaries. You can even bring motorbikes onboard on the bigger boats. It is interesting to know that there are only six bridges spanning the Mekong throughout it's entire 4800 km length, and only one is in Cambodia at Kompong Cham.   


Giant Scoop

A simple but effective net to scoop the shallow riverbeds. In the background is the view back to Phnom Penh's riverside promenade. 



Many fishermen still live their whole lives on small boats like the one above. The man was blowing into the fire stove to get it going. Managing the fire is no easy task as the boats are obviously wooden.


The Tonle Sap River

During the dry season months (March - April), water flows out from Tonle Sap Lake through the Tonle Sap River towards the Mekong. In the wet months (April - September), so much water flows down the Mekong that it reverses the flow of the Tonle Sap and the lake triples in size. This vast floodplain may be the most productive inland fishery in the world. Its well being is vital to the people of Cambodia and to the overall health of the basin. In 1997, UNESCO declared the Tonle Sap Lake and River System a World Biosphere Reserve.



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