The Mekong is the 10th largest and 12th longest river in the world and, after the Amazon, is the second most biodiverse river basin in the world. With its headwaters in the Tibetan Plateau at Lhasa Gong Ma Spring, the river flows approximately 4,300 kilometres draining an area of 795,000 km2 on its way to the delta in Vietnam where it empties into the South China Sea. The Mekong basin is home to no fewer than 20,000 species of plants, 1,200 bird species, 800 species of reptiles and amphibians and 430 mammal species, including Asian elephants and as many as 350 tigers. Moreover, new species continue to be described. Between 1997 and 2007 alone, 1,059 new species were discovered in the Greater Mekong. Not only wildlife but 60 million people live in the lower Mekong Basin 80% of whom rely directly on the river system for their food and livelihoods.
Travelling slowly by non-consumptive means, we will have a fantastic opportunity to meet and talk to people who live alongside the river and depend upon it for their livelihoods. We will also visit conservation projects along our route. Our interest lies in talking to the people on the ground who work to protect this region and its incredible biodiversity.