Kayaking the Mekong River

Anybody out there with experience paddling the Mekong in Laos, or for that matter anywhere in S.E. Asia? Thanks.

I know people who have experience in that area, but it didn’t involve paddling.

Oh yeah! I had 36 months of the fun in southeast Asia during the late 1960s and 1970.
I spent 24 months in Mekong Delta region
Enjoyed seeing huge bats, and a plethora of mice, rats, and swarms of biting, stinging & blood sucking insects.
Even went head to head with a Cobra once. He lost to superior fire power!
The monsoon was very, very wet; the rest of the time it was sweltering, and very dusty if the wind blew & it often did.
Our drinking water had so many chemicals; I drank only beer, soda, or the water with lots of Kool Aid inserted.
Our shower water had so many chemicals in it; I prayed for the return of the monsoon, which I hated. A shampoo & shower in the rain was heaven.

I saw a lot of the country, and much of it was beautiful…from a helicopter. I often volunteered to crew one as a gunner to take a break the mind numbing boredom I was a detachment leaders whose men, and their sentry/attack dogs provided nighttime security at a helicopter airfield in the middle of nowhere. They had no daytime jobs.

I considered a boat trip, but decided discretion was the better part of valor and stupidity.
Was once on a military police crew that did a 200 mile, cross country, round trip in a V100 armored car. Delivered about a million bucks to pay troops. Powers that be decided we would be ok; why use a helicopter, and waste all that fuel.
The paymaster flew there in a helicopter with 4 crewmembers to protect & assist him.

Helicopter rides were sometimes a little dicey; but not so much to a young, 6 foot tall & bulletproof guy?
So anyway I never did paddle or even consider it.
There were a lot of deadlier creatures in the jungle & on the waterways than cobra
I got to see a lot of the country, took some great photos, enjoyed riding in helicopters immensely.

Only had one ride I did not enjoy that much. Flew into a hot landing zone, and the more dangerous than a cobra in the jungle gave us a brief class on how to tear hell out of a helicopter with automatic rifles & tripod mounted, anti aircraft weapons fire. One round went thru the left of our chopper, came out the right side of the cockpit, went thru my helmet, then hit me in the back of the head. The force of the impact knocked me into the gunmount… Last words I heard in my helmet earphones was the crew chief to the pilot, or co pilot. "Sir, I think he’s dead; he got hit in the back of the head & is bleeding like a stuck pig.
Pilot retorted, “We have bigger issues; we’re losing hydraulic fluid” I survived; so did that helicopter. Just another fun day in southeast Asia. Not sorry I didn’t take a sampan ride…



Thank you for serving Bob. I’m glad you made it home.

Thanks for your service Bob !! Your narrative sounds like a story out of one of Oliver North’s TV specials. So happy that God blessed you so you could share your experiences with us !!

Yes many thanks