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This paper describes two innovative and linked approaches to teaching and student learning in the environmental and development geography of the Mekong region, a region remote from students' normal experiential options. The first approach is field-based learning through Field Schools carried out in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. The second approach is a structured role-playing web-based simulation exercise (e-Sim) on Mekong Basin environmental management challenges. This paper discusses the complementarities of these approaches and considers the degree to which these two experiential approaches to teaching and learning have contributed to key competences, namely cross-cultural communication and understanding, multi-disciplinary approaches to environment and development, and regional knowledge of Southeast Asia.