Tha Pae Gate
The gate’s history stretches back hundreds of years to the 13th century.
From the 13th to the 18th century Chiang Mai was the northern Lanna Kingdom’s capital city. As the city grew, so did the need to protect itself from foreign invasion and warring parties, namely the Mongol Empire from nearby Burma. Whilst the walls have never been fully destroyed in conflict, small invasions, centuries of local and tourist climbing and natural erosion have left the walls in a poor state of repair nowadays with much of it being reduced to rubble. The main Tha Pae Gate itself remains almost wholly intact thanks to years of restoration works.
One of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai.
Tha Pae Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Chiang Mai and is part of the crumbling city wall which once acted as a fortress for the ‘Old City’ (and still today acts as a geographical boundary). The gate area is an epicentre for tourism in Chiang Mai, boasting more hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, massage parlours and shops than anywhere else in the city. Staying near Tha Pae Gate not only means you’ll be surrounding yourself with fellow travellers, but it also means you’re well-placed to walk to many of Chiang Mai’s main attractions such as the Night Bazaar, the numerous temples in the Old City, and even the Riverside area (at a push).
The area also has a spacious public square which plays host to a variety of events, from lantern-lighting during Loy Kratong, to water-fights at Songkran and regular live music and cultural shows throughout the year. Other notable dates include the Flower Carnival Festival and Makha Bucha Day (both February), and currently there is live music every Saturday night as the famous night market starts from here.
Perhaps the best time to visit Tha Pae Gate is on Saturday evenings when a live band performs on a semi-permanent stage in front of the brick gate. Food vendors pop up all over the place too, selling everything from grilled chicken to som tam and noodles. You can bring your own drinks and find a spot to chill out, then head to any one of the surrounding bars, restaurants or clubs later on to carry on your evening.