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Comparison with present picture
Ox-carts, Tuk Tuks, public pickups and cars on the same road.
Boonserm Satrabhaya
Ox-carts; Tuk Tuks

In the agriculture production before the time of cars or motorbikes, often oxen were a very practical animal for farming and transporting goods. The northern Thai farmers would use these oxen for transport in two ways: ox-carts and carrying goods on their back.

Woa lo or ox-carts was one way people sent goods to be traded elsewhere. It was one vehicle used in the city and rural areas, especially during the times when trading was done by boats and trains. They were the main transportation to deliver goods from the suburbs to the piers or train stations. The Chinese merchants who came by train to do their trading said that they would go out to the outer districts to buy crops such as rice, beans and garlic then hire ox-carts to deliver them to warehouses near the train station in order to send them to be sold in Bangkok.

An interview with villagers in San Sai District revealed that when the farmers gathered their crops in the fields they rented from the landlords in the city they would put an ox-cart full of un-milled rice and send it to the land owner as rent. One cart could carry 10-50 buckets (a Thai measurement) with the transport charge of 1 Baht per bucket. The land owner would pay the delivery fee. One trip would take six hours to reach the city and another four hours to return home.

Ox-carts in the city played a role of transporters from the piers and train stations to the local markets and in the rural villages. Chiew Chua who ran a store in the Chiang Mai Gate Market after WWII said that he bought fish sauce from agents in San Pakhoi Market and hired ox-carts to deliver them to his store.

During the 1960-70s roads were built and cars and motorbikes were in use as a means of transportation. The ox-carts slowly lost their roles because transport could be done easier and in larger amounts by cars. The Chinese merchants started to bring in trucks for sale and operate logistics businesses in the city and among the outer districts. The locals would call these trucks “Rod khok mu” or pig’s pen trucks. Meanwhile, the government forbad ox-carts from entering the inner area of the Municipality or to cross the bridges into the Thapae area because the cow manure would dirty the roads and the carts would obstruct the traffic flow. Thus, the carts vanished from the city.

The carts slowly lost their roles in the villages The villages changed to use motorized wheel ploughs and used motorbikes for their transportation. Chusit Chuchart stated that between 1976-1985 the number of registered automobiles increased to 66,183. The “Kad Woa” or ox markets almost entirely changed to a second hand motorbike market. However, some villages still use ox-carts for example, Ban Mae Tha in Lamphun Province.

Chusit Chuchart. (1995). “Kad Nguo” (talad nguo) : Miti Nueng Khong Kan
Sathon Khwam Plieanplaeng Khong Sangkhom Chaona Nai
Phak Nuea Khong Prathet Thai (The Local Cattle Markets:
A Dimension of Reflection of the Peasantry in Northern Thailand.
Chiang Mai: Rajabhat Institute.

Anu Noenhad, Pol. Lt. Col. (2003). Sang Khom Mueang Chiang Mai Lem 5
(Chiang Mai Society vol. 5). Chiang Mai: Nopburi Printing.
Chiang Mai University Library
Chiang Mai
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Chiang Mai
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