Environment

What Is the Source of the Mekong River?

The Mekong begins in the Tibetan Plateau.

The Mekong is the 7th longest river in Asia and the 12th longest in the world, covering a total distance of 2,703 miles and draining an area of 307,000 square miles. The river flows through 6 countries: Vietnam, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia.

The Source of the Mekong River

The source of the Mekong can be traced to the Lasagongma Spring, which is a glacial stream in the Tibetan Plateau. The Lasagongma Spring has an elevation of more than 17,000 ft above sea level, and flows into the Gaoshanxigu, which then drains into the Gouyonggu. The Gouyonggu later flows into the Zayaqu, followed by the Zaqu, which then becomes the Lancang Jian River. The Lancang Jian River becomes the Mekong River when it reaches the border between China and Myanmar. The Mekong snakes through six countries before draining into the South China Sea.

Tributaries of the Mekong River

The Mekong River has seven main tributaries which are divided into two categories: left bank tributaries and right bank tributaries. Left bank tributaries, which drain areas in Laos, include the Nam Khan, the Tha River, and the Nam Ou. Right bank tributaries, which drain areas in Thailand and Cambodia, include the Mun River, the Tonlé Sap, the Kok River, and the Ruak River. The Nam Khan originates from Laos and flows for 162 miles before joining the Mekong River. The Tha River also originates in Laos and flows for 134 miles before draining into the Mekong. Nam Ou also originates in Laos and covers a total distance of 236 miles before reaching the Mekong. The Mun River originates from the San Kamphaeng range in Thailand, and flows for 418 miles before draining into the Mekong. The Tonlé Sap begins in Cambodia and flows 69 miles, drawing waters from Tonle Sap Lake. The Kok River begins in the highlands of Thailand and has a total length of 177 miles. The Ruak River also begins in Thailand, covering a distance of 203 miles before draining into the Mekong.

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