In many Thai towns and cities, samlors are still used as a means of transport. The traditional samlor (sam=three; lor=wheel) is a rickshaw which is pedaled by the driver whilst the passenger sits in the back. Some motorized rickshaws are also called samlors, but more commonly the motorized versions are known as tuk-tuks.
The pedal samlors are certainly a sedate way to travel and hark back to a bygone era. They are usually operated by elderly men who at first glance don’t appear to have the strength required for the job. However, appearances can be deceiving and the men that pedal the samlors are as hard as teak and can put younger men to shame when it comes to fitness and endurance levels. If you want to ride in a samlor there’s no need to feel sorry for the driver; this is the way he makes an honest living. He isn’t there just for the benefit of the tourists and there are plenty of Thai people (often elderly women) who prefer this traditional and elegant form of transport.
You won’t find the pedal samlors everywhere in Thailand, but you will see them in places such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hua Hin. Prices normally depend on the distance you travel, but as a tourist you may wish to negotiate a price for a set amount of time.