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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Introducing the wheel thing

Introducing the wheel thing

Tuk-tuks, also known as auto rickshaws, three-wheeler taxis, or remorks are the most popular way of getting around Siem Reap, and even for touring the temples. But they are a tad ‘primitive’, and, according to long-time tuk-tuk driver Hout Cheng Thim, they can also be a dangerous at times due to poor brakes.

Hout Cheng Thim, who has driven remorks for eight years, says the vehicles can be dangerous in inexperienced hands because they have brakes that are really only designed for small motor cycles, or motos.

He adds, “Only expert remork drivers can avoid road accidents.”

To make life safer for both himself and his paying customers, Hout Cheng Thim turned his mind in 2010 to inventing a better-class tuk-tuk and now can be seen working from Central Market with the result – his “air car taxi.”

This, in essence, is a homemade car with no door or windows, but with an ample supply of brakes.

His air car taxi is fitted with a car engine, and a body has been modified from the humble remork.

He proudly says, “My air car also has four car wheels, it has four brakes and is able to carry six or seven people.”

To add to the comfort he is also able to provide passengers with cold fresh drinks.

But there is a down-side – because his vehicle is powered by a car engine, it uses more gasoline and hence he has to up his prices.

Whereas tuk-tuk drivers normally charge $12 for a return trip to Angkor, the air car taxi tariff is about $20.

But according to Hout Cheng Thim, the premium price is worth it for extra comfort and safety.

He also exhorts the Siem Reap authorities to “support and value” his new creation to “help make Siem Reap the most attractive province in Cambodia.”

Meanwhile, another mean machine cruising Siem Reap streets is the Apollo Plaza Wedding Care.

Apollo Plaza owner, Sandy told Insider that the car was made in Phnom Penh and it’s a, “real Khmer creative.”

Sandy’s father, Sang Sok Chheng, is responsible for the creation of the car and declines to say how much it cost to make. But basically it’s been made from old cars to relive the olden-day glamour for mainly wedding couple. He says, “It’s a very new car in town that reminds people of an old fashioned model.”

The car is available as part of a wedding package, but also available for rental. Price is negotiable.  Phone 092 910 980. 

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