Girl in northeast Thailand rides elephant to save fuel costs, goes viral

TikTok screen grab.

Elephant crossing!

An 11 year old girl in northeast Thailand’s Buriram province has become a TikTok sensation from riding an elephant to school to help her family save cash on fuel. The girl’s father, Wisanchol, told reporters that he works with elephants and that his family owns four of the gentle giants. The elephant that his daughter, Pupae, was filmed riding on, is a male elephant named Ole.

Wisanchol said that Pupae is very close to Ole, as she has been around him ever since she was little. Pupae has helped her family care for Ole, feeding him and giving him baths. Pupae started riding Ole when she was six years old. Several viral TikTok videos of Pupae riding Ole show her in her school uniform, on the giant creature’s back, as the two passes by people in their community. One video has over 57,000 likes.

Pupae says she hopes to be a veterinarian when she grows up so that she can keep taking care of elephants. Her family’s elephants used to perform for tourists in Ayutthaya, but her family was forced to move back to Buriram after Covid-19 broke out.

Pupae rides Ole to her school about 500 metres from her home every day. She said that at first, her classmates were shocked to see the huge animal. But now, she says they have grown used to it, and enjoy seeing Ole when he brings her to school.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Northern Thailand News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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