Tourist in samlor at golden chedi
Samlor tour

Chiang Mai on Three Wheels

Chiang Mai on Three Wheels is our project to support the samlor drivers of Chiang Mai and to preserve the samlor as a means of transportation in the city.

The samlor is a three-wheel passenger bicycle taxi. Samlor means “three wheels” in Thai. These kind of bicycle taxis were prevalent in Southeast Asia. The spread of motorised vehicles has made them redundant, unfortunately. Bicycle taxis are slow and obstruct traffic. Fewer and fewer people were willing to power them, as well. Riding a bicycle taxi is not a popular profession anymore.

Tourist with samlor driver
Making new friends

Samlors, trishaws and cyclos

In Singapore, Hanoi and Hoi An bicycle taxis are now a tourist attraction. They exclusively drive tourists around, which is the only way this mode of transportatoin will survive. In Chiang Mai, we are not there yet. There are approximately 70 samlors left in Chiang Mai. You can find most of them at the Warorot Market. There are some samlors at the San Pakoi and Nong Hoi markets.

Two bicycle taxis in an old town Chiang Mai on Three Wheels
Cyclos (samlors) with tourists in the old town of Hoi An

The future of the samlor in Chiang Mai

In 2016 we made this website to feature samlor tours. The proceeds from these tours we reinvest in the project. Although numbers are not available, the drivers have made more tours than before the launch of our website. Many tour companies and guides approach the drivers directly. There has been a growing awareness of the importance of the preservation of the samlor as a means of transportation. There is a long way to go though before the younger generation will take over.

We promote cycling and bicycle taxis as ecofriendly and healthy modes of transportation. A bicycle ride a day keeps the doctor away. Cycling, walking, hiking and trekking are healthy activities that should be part of your daily routine.

Samlors passing an iron bridge with tourists Chiang Mai on Three Wheels
Samlors on the Iron Bridge