bicycle taxi with tourist
Samlor with tourist. Picture by Alberto Cosi

The samlors of Chiang Mai

The samlor is the traditional bicycle taxi in Thailand. The word “samlor” literally means “three wheels”. It has been a mode of transportation in North Thailand since the 30’s. In those days, there was a type that has disappeared. It was a bicycle with a sidecar. Nowadays you sit on a small bench behind the driver. There is only place for one passenger. There used to be hundreds of samlors in Chiang Mai. The availability of motorised transportation and the increase in traffic has brought the bicycle taxi close to “extinction”. The drivers are mostly middle-aged to older men, and their income is irregular. They are now based at markets and have their regular customers. These bicycle taxis are beautiful vehicles and should not disappear from Chiang Mai streets. Where ever possible we try to include a ride in our programs. It is a lovely way to explore the Old City of Chiang Mai.