The Tha Phae Gate is one of 5 gates were which originally constructed as entrance points to the old walled city of Chiang Mai.
The Tha Phae Gate, which is now permanently open, is both a major tourist attraction and the centre point of Chiang Mai’s old city area.
About the Tha Phae Gate
When Chiang Mai was established in 1297 it was built with a wall and moat.
Threat of Invasion
The newly founded city was under very real threat from the Mongol forces who controlled China and in 1292 had invaded the neighbouring kingdom of Chiang Hung. The city was also under threat of invasion from the west also with Burmese forces becoming increasingly aggressive. The walls, moat and gates were not ornamental, they were built for defence of the city.
Reconstruction of the Original Gate
Chiang Mai lasted as the capital of an independent Lanna Kingdom until 1556 when the Burmese finally took the city by force. Since that time the city walls and the 5 city gates were left crumble, suffering both from the weather and local people taking the bricks away for use in building other things. The Tha Phae Gate as it stands today is a reconstruction of the original gate which was funded by the local community.
Market at the Tha Phae Gate
There is a large pedestrian plaza in front of the Tha Phae Gate where a permanent market is held in both the day and the night.
The Tha Phae Gate market is an interesting place to visit because many of the stalls sell local handicrafts. More interesting than the products themselves are the men and women making these products using traditional techniques. You can see carpenters, weaver, potters and metalworkers producing old fashioned household items and clothes. These products are not cheap but they unique and authentic and you can’t find the same things to the same quality in the city’s other tourist markets.
There is also a food court in the plaza in front of the Tha Phae Gate. Like the market stalls, the emphasis in the food court is traditional food from Chiang Mai such as Khao Soi and Chiang Mai sausage. All these dishes are reasonably priced and popular with both Thai and foreign visitors.
Location of the Tha Phae Gate
- Tha Phae Gate is located 3.2 km by road from Chiang Mai Railway Station.