A Collection of Notes and Memoranda on the Journey
It is convenient to adopt four main divisions for the trip:
First region: ancient Cambodian Laos and adjacent provinces;
Second region: greater Laos;
Third region: Chinese Yunnan;
Fourth region: High Mekong, sources.
In each region, there will be a long stop for rest and for the study of the area, and also to prepare for the next region.
THE FIRST REGION, ANCIENT CAMBODIAN LAOS AND THE ADJACENT PROVINCES, stretches from the rapids of Sambok to the provinces or tribes which are above Ubon (1).
The study of this region will have to include that of ancient Cambodia, Angkor, Battambang, etc., regarding which I will return further (2).
The region is of slight extent, but it is of a distinct form and should be attentively studied, because these lands are in contact with us, and it is their products which are required for our colony.
The people there know the Cambodian language.
People have noted rock salt there, near Ubôn (3); lead and silver, near Stung treng; iron, in the provinces on the right-hand shore; gold-bearing sand, hemp, resins, lacquer, gums, wild cardamom, etc…
The main regions which are relatively important to research are: Ubôn, Bassac, Stung treng, Attopeu.
To study the practicability of the rapids of Sambok at Stung treng. The opinions of the natives are torn.
A few Laotians are of the affirmative, they who been in charge of taking a gunboat through the middle of the channel, in August, September and October, in other words near the end of the rising of the water.
Others think that after the beginning of the flooding it would be considerably better to follow the left side of the river where an accident would be less dangerous.
The real dangers would be for the descent, but the shallow depth of the water would allow us to assure the rescue of personnel.
Regarding the islands which are part of the river, some are Laotian, the others Cambodian.
The native traders take seven nights from Krachéh to Stung treng, three nights from Stung treng to Khong; on this journey they go beyond the waterfall by wagon, and reach Bassak one night later.
For Ubôn they take three or four nights besides.
At Stung treng, the chieftain is Laotian. It is here that it flows into the river which goes to Attopeu.
To study this river, there is another branch which descends into a more southern region where the area of Radé is found.
There will not be a simple way of communicating with our possessions?