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Northern Thailand’s ‘Samlor’ Drivers Refuse to Give up Pedaling



CHIANG RAI –  Three-wheeled bicycle taxi drivers (samlors) in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai refuse to abandon their long-held profession, trying to preserve one of the unique charms of the northern cities.

There has been a substantial drop in the number of tricycle taxis, or ‘samlor’ in the two northern most cities,  from than a 1,000 traditional rickshaws roaming the cites in the past, there are less than a hundred three-wheeled bikes available and the samlor drivers are getting older.

Unwilling to let this local means of transport obsolete, this group of samlors is determined to conserve the human-powered taxi as a symbol of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

One of them is 70-year-old Inkaeo Jaisung in Chiang Mai has offered pedicab ride for over 50 years. Proudly serving regular customers each day, grandpa Inkaeo, as being called by the locals, often earns extra income from foreign tourists.

Like other elderly samlors, he appears extraordinarily healthy while many of his fellow samlors had had to give in to their physical conditions, he said.

amlors could one day be present only at tourist sites as photo props, in other words, extinct,

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