Names of Mekong River – Mekong River Overview | Cruise Mekong River

Names of Mekong River – Mekong River Overview

The Mekong River is one of the world’s 10th rivers in its river length and has great influences upon nature and societies of the Indo-china Peninsula. In English the river is called “the Mekong River”, derived from “Mae Nam Khong”, a term of both Thai and Lao origin. In the Lao-Thai toponymy, all great rivers are considered “mother rivers” signaled by the prefix “mae”, meaning “mother”, and “nam” for water. In the Mekong’s case, Mae Nam Khong means Khong, Mother of Water. “Khong” is derived from the Sanskrit “ganga”, meaning the Ganges. Many Northern Thai and Laos locals refer to it as the “River Khong”. The Tonle Sap in Cambodia is a similar example – where Tonle translates as “Great lake or river”, making the Tonle Sap River an unnecessary repetition of what is in fact the “Sap River”.


The source of the Mekong River is in Tibet mountains and is called Dza Chu River (River of Rock). After running through very narrow valley paralling Yangz Jiang and Salween River, the Mekong reaches to Yung-Nan Province of China and is called Lancang Jiang (Turbulent River). Via Golden Triangle, the crossing of China, Myanmar and Laos boarder, the Mekong flow into Vientiane Plain. The term, Lower Mekong means downstream segment from the point. There are some notorious rapids for French navigation plan in colonial period before the Mekong get to Cambodia, and the last segment is the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam, which distributes grate influences to agriculture, especially paddy fields there. According to a sketch on the right, we can see this long river with some segments hereinafter.

One Response to Names of Mekong River – Mekong River Overview

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