Happy Elephant Valley, located in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand, started its journey in 2017. Moving away from commonly seen activities that allow tourists to ride, bathe and feed the elephants, the team took a step towards becoming a truly elephant-friendly venue. With the support of World Animal Protection, and some of the world’s leading travel companies, ChangChill (meaning “relaxed elephants” in Thai) is now ready to reopen its doors – offering a better life for elephants and a unique experience for visitors.

The transition allows the four resident female elephants the freedom to roam the valley, graze, and bathe in the river, mud and dust, while socializing with each other. Visitors are no longer encouraged to interact with the elephants, but are now given the chance to see how the elephants choose to spend their days in the forest. Observe elephants navigate the lush forest, learn about Karen hill tribe culture with local community members, or enjoy the breathtaking view from the elephant observation deck – it’s not only the elephants that get to “chill” here.

About Elephant Family

ChangChill Elephant Stories


Mae Korn

Was born in Tak Province. She about thirty six years old (she born in 1987) Born into a Karen family Before the COVID epidemic, the owner brought Mother Korn to Mae Taeng District. came to work at an elephant riding camp Been riding for about 1 year. After that, the owner took her to an elephant camp in Mae Taeng District as well. But it is a program where tourists can bathe elephants and play mud with elephants. So after that because of the spread of the COVID situation The owner of Mae Korn took her to work dragging a raft at one of the place in Mae Wang District, doing it for about 2 years. After that, the owner took her to live in a new house is Chang Chill. In the first week Mae Korn was not used to the program that Chang Chill. Still remembers tourists and still walks to ask tourists for food. But Mother Korn is a smart elephant. After 1 month stay with other elephants Mae Korn learns something new here. We give her time to really learn the way of life of elephants. from another elephant Mother Korn is quite fast to learn. Mother Korn can now start taking her own food naturally. More time with other elephants Start adjusting to your new life here, less worrying, more cheerful. It’s about a month now. Then Mae Korn was at Chang Chill. And hope to stay here as long as possible. And hope that one day Mother Korn will be accepted to have new friends and family here.


Mae Too

Mae Too was born in 1984 in Mae Hong Son province, where Karen hill tribe communities have a long history of living alongside elephants. The word “too” in Karen means “gold” and after spending several years working as a logging elephant, the two men that shared ownership of her asked their sons to take over, and they found work in the tourism industry in Chiang Mai. They spent about five years living and working in various trekking camps before seeking a different life for their elephant. Mae Too was one of the first elephants to join the herd at Chang Chill, and since then, she has spent her time foraging in the thickest parts of the forested land, always on the lookout for bamboo shoots.


Mae Mayura

Mayura is the youngest, and most energetic elephant in the ChangChill herd, is often heard trumpeting and roaring with her mother, Mae Gohgae. Born in 1989, close to the Thai-Myanmar border, Mayura worked as a logging elephant in both Thailand and Myanmar for many years. While she was sometimes sent to work in different regions than her mother, the two were often able to reunite in their owners’ home town during breaks between logging jobs. Recently, she worked as a taxi elephant in Chiang Mai, carrying tourists on her back alongside her mother, at a camp that gave them very little free time to spend together. We’re proud to see how much Mayura enjoys her days at ChangChill. Whether she’s grazing in the forest, or splashing in the river, it is plain to see she’s just happy to have her mother by her side.


Mae Gohgae

Mae Gohgae lives a special life at ChangChill, because “mae” in Thai means “mother,” and that’s exactly what her role is here. Unfortunately, many elephants are separated from their mothers at a young age, but Mae Gohgae hardly ever lets her daughter, Mayura, out of her sight. Born in the early 1970s, Mae Gohgae hasn’t had the easiest life. She spent years dragging logs out of the forest in Thailand and Myanmar before working as a trekking elephant in Chiang Mai. Before giving birth to Mayura, Mae Gohgae had another calf that died only a few hours after being born. Now, she is very protective of Mayura, and this mother-daughter duo are constantly vocalizing to each other, which can be heard echoing throughout ChangChill. We wonder if this proud mother will ever adopt any of the other elephants, and eventually take on the role of the herd’s matriarch.