A River Lost in Time But Open for Travel

Illustration for TIME by Anna Crichton

A journey up the Mekong into the jungled heart of Southeast Asia has had a hold on popular imagination since Martin Sheen's nightmarish voyage in Apocalypse Now. Francis Ford Coppola's film, shot in the Philippines, probably did as much to inform armchair experience of the Vietnam War and its virgin forest battlegrounds as any travel brochure. But recreating Captain Willard's mythical journey has been impossible for decades due to civil war in Mekong and tourist restrictions in communist Laos. Until now. Although not yet officially announced, the Mekong border crossing has been reopened to foreigners, allowing river travel from the...

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