This exciting journey took John up the world’s 11th longest river from the South China Sea to Tibet and beyond. The Mekong has long been associated with mystery and opium-smuggling, but he hadn’t expected the excitement and dangers that he faced in its upper reaches. Starting among the rice paddies of Vietnam, he made his way via Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma and through the gorges of China’s Yunnan province, meeting river-people of seven nationalities along the way. In a climax to the trip, he and two Tibetans stepped onto the glacier at the foot of Mount Guosongmucha, north of Tibet, where the Mekong rises at over 17,000 feet. He was the first European to reach and map its source.
Johns journey through the regular updates he wrote for this
site during 2003: