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.
Chiang Mai’s Tha Pae Gate has a long and fascinating history, stretching back to when the province acted as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom from the 13th-18 century. During the city’s formation in the 13th century, the wall, adjacent moat and several large gates were built as defensive measures in case of attack (armies from the Mongol Empire in nearby Burma were a constant threat).
Small invasions over the centuries, as well as locals and tourists climbing over it, have left most of the Old City wall in rubble, although the Tha Pae Gate section remains mostly intact, and has been re-built in parts over the years to carry on the rich heritage of Chiang Mai.
Tha Pae Gate can be found on the eastern side of the Old City, in between Rachadmnoen Road (running west into the Old City), and Tha Phae Road (running east towards the River Ping). There are literally hundreds of accommodation options that are walking distance from the gate, from international 5-star resorts to new boutique hotels, family-run guesthouses and backpacker-style dorms.
Perhaps the best time to visit Thai 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.
Tha Pae Gate
- Location: Moon Muang Rd., Chiang mai City