Life & Culture in Mekong Region

Life & Culture in Mekong Region
The Mekong region is home to around 60 million inhabitants with more than 100 different ethnic groups, making it the world’s most culturally-diverse region. The inhabitants are mainly farmers or fishermen, and while they are rich in resources, they are very poor in purchasing power. A third of these populations live with few-dollar income a day and have almost no access to services of the government.
Life on the Mekong revolves much around the river. In mountainous areas north of Laos or Thailand, the Mekong offers an interesting alternative for the transport. Besides, due to its wealth (it is the world’s 2nd richest river in species, after the Amazon), the river allows millions of people to earn their living out of it directly or indirectly. Many live right on the banks of its tributaries and canals. Their homes are built from various kinds of materials and usually have stilts and fish-raising cages underneath.
In Vietnam, the Mekong Delta receives the bounty of alluviums and deposits from the upper Mekong and is thus a very rich and verdant area. It produces about half of the country’s total agriculture output (even produces more rice than Japan and Korean together). The Mekong Delta is made up of endless rice fields, a maze of small canals, luxuriant fruit orchards, small islands and isolated villages. Most of the villages are accessed by boat other than by roads.
Mekong Delta is initially covered with marshland forest and inhabited by Khmer ethnic people only. Vietnamese people now make a majority of its population (total up 17 million, out of which 25% are Khmer and 30% are Chinese). Most of these ethnic people live in Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Soc Trang provinces.
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