Chiang Mai Articles

Capturing Chiang Mai’s many memories

Chiang Mai City Life

By Pim Kemasingki | Mon 30 Sep 2019

It’s easy to scoff at all the nonsense found on Facebook, but then you would miss out on the absolute gem that is Chiang Mai Memories.

The public group was setup in 2016 when Frans Betgem, who works in the tourism industry but has long had a passion for history, was contacted by an Oliver Backhouse, his grandfather had worked in Chiang Mai for the Bombay Burmah Trading Company, and he sought more information of his grandfather’s time here.

Man in blue shirt

Thailand on Three Wheels—With and Without an Engine
Story and photos by Bruce Northam

Perceptive Travel, 2017

You can also see Thailand by way of three wheels without burning an ounce of fossil fuel. Chiang Mai’s senior-citizen-pedaled samlors—hooded-tricycle taxis also called trishaws—are fading fast from the Thai landscape as they give way to loud, polluting vehicles that threaten everything green. Chiang Mai on Three Wheels is fighting back and supporting veteran samlor pilots to preserve Chiang Mai’s last green transport mode.(..) Long-time Netherlands expat Frans Betgem arrived Chiang Mai in 1998. He eventually started Chiang Mai-based Green Trails, which helps oversee Chiang Mai on Three Wheels, and adopted this samlor-preservation charity project that remains close to his heart. Without it, the samlor would soon vanish from the streets of Chiang Mai.

Bicycle taxi Chiang Mai Private Tours
Samlor tour

On Tour With the Veteran Samlor Drivers of Chiang Mai

A few years ago, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai and Rotary International started supporting the samlor drivers. With unity in numbers, the drivers have banded together to form their own association and they now hold regular meetings. And a new tour company, Chiang Mai on Three Wheels, is also working closely with the samlor drivers and the Rotary Club. Chiang Mai on Three Wheels is a non-profit project of Green Trails and is helping to provide more regular work for the drivers.

Man with a bicycle taxi
Chiang Mai Articles Samlor driver Udom. Photo by Roy Cavanagh

Samlors and Cycles: On The Trail of Chiang Mai’s Hidden Heritage

This tour can be booked via Green Trails and you can also arrange tailor-made tours of the Chiang Mai area via Green Trails’ sister company, Chiang Mai a la Carte. This was a test run so the name of the tour, route and locations may change in the future. This trip also included a visit to a local market and a stop for lunch nearby. Although the tour involved some cycling, it was gentle exercise along quiet lanes and is suitable for all the family. For the busier parts of the route, you will be a passenger in a samlor and then either a pick-up truck or a mini-van.

Monks on a foot bridge

Chiang Mai Living – Samlor Tours

Ronald J (Ron) Elliott, Honorary Consul – Australian Consulate Northern Thailand October 27, 2016

According to their website offers tours by samlor which is a bicycle taxi and in Thai language samlor literally means three wheels. Chiang Mai on Three Wheels supports the drivers of samlors in Chiang Mai. We also want to preserve the samlor as a cultural heritage of Chiang Mai. Before the age of the automobile there used to be hundreds of samlors on the roads of Chiang Mai. Now there are less than 70. Chiang Mai on Three Wheels considers the samlor a Chiang Mai heritage.