word 'samlor' literally translates to 'three-wheel' and is the term
used to describe the tricycle taxi
s that are in common use throughout the country (bar Bangkok
where they are banned). It is said that the first samlor was used in Thailand
Province in 1933 when a Chinese
merchant added an extra
wheel to a traditional bicycle and presented the hybrid vehicle
to the then monarch King Rama V
. As soon as people saw the new invention
they realised that the samlor was a viable alternative to the rickshaw
, whilst being cheaper to run than the horse
drawn carriages used by the rich
, and the vehicles have been in constant use since.
The samlor driver sits astride a bicycle, while the passengers (often several at a time) sat behind under a collapsible canvas roof supported by the other two wheels of the trike. The entire contraption could be fitted with a plastic sheet across the front and extra side panels to keep the occupants dry during the (all too common) rainstorms. Samlor drivers are just as lethal as the infamous tuk tuk drivers despite the salors slower speed, with them showing the same tendancy to cycle the wrong way up the fast lane of dual carriages (this actually happened to my girlfriend and I in Kanchanaburi, not an experience I'd want to have again).