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A River's Tail
Elephants and their Mahouts make their way back to shore after their morning bathing ritual in the Mekong River north of Luang Prubang, Laos.
Image Credit: Gareth Bright

A River's Tail

The Mekong River is one of Asia’s longest rivers, stretching through six countries and supporting an estimated 60 million people. Luc Forsyth and Gareth Bright, a pair of photojournalists based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia are on a journey to follow the Mekong River from sea to source, fully immersing themselves in the adventure of exploring one of the world’s most famous rivers. Over the coming months, The Diplomat will share some of the stories they’ve found along the river.

Writing and color photographs by Luc Forsyth, black and white photographs by Gareth Bright, videography by Pablo Chavanel.

For more about A River’s Tail, check out their website and Instagram.

Drowning Yunnan's Valleys
August 25, 2016
Drowning Yunnan's Valleys
In northern Yunnan, the future of multiple rural villages are under threat from hydropower dams along the Lancang.
Drowning Yunnan's Valleys
Dams and the Rise of Lancang River Fishing
August 24, 2016
Dams and the Rise of Lancang River Fishing
In Jinggu county, the construction of dams on the Lancang have created a recent fishing boom, though it may not last.
Dams and the Rise of Lancang River Fishing
Pu’er Tea: Worth Its Weight in Silver
August 23, 2016
Pu’er Tea: Worth Its Weight in Silver
In Yunnan, the city of Pu’er is renowned for producing some of the country’s most prestigious and expensive tea.
Pu’er Tea: Worth Its Weight in Silver
Bananas on the Lancang: Grown in Yunnan, Destined for Shanxi
August 18, 2016
Bananas on the Lancang: Grown in Yunnan, Destined for Shanxi
Along the banks of the Lancang in Yunnan, bananas grown from the river’s water are part of a complex network of national trade.
Bananas on the Lancang: Grown in Yunnan, Destined for Shanxi
Dredging the Lancang River
August 11, 2016
Dredging the Lancang River
In Simaogang, a small fleet of sand dredgers work from sunrise to sunset, shipping river sand to construction sites around Yunnan.
Dredging the Lancang River
The Packaging of Culture: Dai Along the Lancang
August 05, 2016
The Packaging of Culture: Dai Along the Lancang
Spread across China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos, the Dai are at the crossroads of tradition and the modern world.
The Packaging of Culture: Dai Along the Lancang
Entering China: Where the Mekong Ends
July 27, 2016
Entering China: Where the Mekong Ends
In Jinghong, the gateway to southwestern China, the Mekong ends and the Lancang river begins.
Entering China: Where the Mekong Ends
The Power of Power: Laotian Village Generates Its Own Electricity
June 29, 2016
The Power of Power: Laotian Village Generates Its Own Electricity
In a remote mountain village of northern Laos, a community has developed their own electrical grid, yet faces an uncertain future.
The Power of Power: Laotian Village Generates Its Own Electricity
Laos: The Land of a Million Elephants
June 16, 2016
Laos: The Land of a Million Elephants
The expansion of civilization is pushing humans and elephants closer and closer together.
Laos: The Land of a Million Elephants
Damming the Nam Khan in Laos
May 25, 2016
Damming the Nam Khan in Laos
The Nam Khan river, a major tributary of the Mekong, is being dammed in at least 3 places, displacing thousands.
Damming the Nam Khan in Laos
Seeing Landlocked Laos' Sea
May 12, 2016
Seeing Landlocked Laos' Sea
The Nam Ngum dam was Laos’ first major hydropower project, and it resulted in the formation of an immense reservoir--the Laos Sea.
Seeing Landlocked Laos' Sea
Coffee, Kingdoms, and the Peace of Southern Laos
May 04, 2016
Coffee, Kingdoms, and the Peace of Southern Laos
The area around Pakse, the largest city in southern Laos, is best known for its coffee production and the ruins of an ancient empire.
Coffee, Kingdoms, and the Peace of Southern Laos
Making the Most of Fruits of the Khone Falls
April 27, 2016
Making the Most of Fruits of the Khone Falls
Not all living from the waters around the Khone Falls demonstrate concern for the health of the water or its creatures.
Making the Most of Fruits of the Khone Falls
The Mighty Khone Falls of Laos
April 20, 2016
The Mighty Khone Falls of Laos
Near the Laos-Cambodia border, the falls stretch across the breadth of the Mekong.
The Mighty Khone Falls of Laos
The Bunong vs. The Sesan II Dam
March 23, 2016
The Bunong vs. The Sesan II Dam
For the indigenous Bunong people, a desperate battle against the Sesan II dam will decide if their community has a future.
The Bunong vs. The Sesan II Dam
Blocking the Flow: Cambodia’s Sesan II Dam
March 09, 2016
Blocking the Flow: Cambodia’s Sesan II Dam
In Cambodia’s far north, the Mekong is under threat from one of the most controversial environmental project in the country.
Blocking the Flow: Cambodia’s Sesan II Dam
The Tonle Sap: Cambodia’s Beating Heart
March 02, 2016
The Tonle Sap: Cambodia’s Beating Heart
The Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia’s largest lake and Cambodia’s main source of protein, but all is not well on the Great Lake.
The Tonle Sap: Cambodia’s Beating Heart
Towards Cambodia’s Great Lake
February 24, 2016
Towards Cambodia’s Great Lake
Cambodia’s Tonle Sap River is the conduit that connects the Mekong to the largest lake in Southeast Asia.
Towards Cambodia’s Great Lake
The Vanishing Lakes of Phnom Penh
February 17, 2016
The Vanishing Lakes of Phnom Penh
Cambodia’s capital was once home to 2 flourishing lakeside communities. Commercial land development changed everything.
The Vanishing Lakes of Phnom Penh
The Lives of Phnom Penh’s Chams
February 03, 2016
The Lives of Phnom Penh’s Chams
In the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, a small community of Cambodian Muslims live half their lives on the water.
The Lives of Phnom Penh’s Chams
Shifting Sands in the Mekong River
January 27, 2016
Shifting Sands in the Mekong River
In eastern Cambodia, the global demand for sand to be used in concrete mixing has had profound impacts on river dwellers.
Shifting Sands in the Mekong River
Entering the Kingdom of Cambodia
January 20, 2016
Entering the Kingdom of Cambodia
The second country in A River’s Tail is home to roughly 15 million people, and is one of the poorest countries in Asia.
Entering the Kingdom of Cambodia
Away from Sea, River Fishing on the Mekong
December 16, 2015
Away from Sea, River Fishing on the Mekong
As we make our way to the Cambodian border, we search for fishermen who make their living from the river.
Away from Sea, River Fishing on the Mekong
How the Mekong River Builds Houses
December 09, 2015
How the Mekong River Builds Houses
Welcome to the city of Sa Dec, where the river is turned into brick houses.
How the Mekong River Builds Houses
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