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Tha Phae Gate, located on the Moon Muang Road, is the most prominent landmark in Chiang Mai. It made up the city walls of the Old City in the earlier days, and is now a prime location which is flourishing under the advent of Chiang Mai's foremost hotels, shops and restaurants. It also serves as the hub of the city's cultural events and festivals throughout the year.
The wall acted as the boundary for the Old City of Chiang Mai. Today most of the wall is crumbling, but the Tha Phae Gate that is east facing still stands. Besides it being the hub of restaurants, shops and cultural activities, the Tha Phae Gate is also perfectly located due to its proximity to other Chiang Mai’s tourist attractions, such as the Night Bazaar and the many temples of the city.
The Tha Phae Gate is the central zone for Chiang Mai’s tourists. It is abundant with restaurants, hotels, cafes, massage centres, bars, clubs, parlours and shops.
The large square is a perfect setting for various cultural and religious events. The square located in front of the gate hosts different events, such as lantern lighting during the Loy Kratong, the Flower Carnival Festival, water fights during the Songkran celebrations, Makha Bucha Day and the Yee Peng Lantern Festival. Other music performances and live shows are also conducted throughout the year.
With numerous hotels and restaurants, as well its closeness to almost all the other city attractions makes the Tha Phae Gate a traveller and backpacker’s perfect hang out area. Places of stay range from 5-star luxury hotels to dormitories and the restaurants, as well as food street vendors, ensure that there is a wide variety of dining options. One can find noodles, grilled chicken, som tam etc. and various cafes or beverage outlets to relax and soak in the local culture.
The Tha Phae Gate is also from where the famous Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market Walking Street begins which is also called the Tha Phae Walking Street.
The city of Chiang Mai was founded by King Mangrai in 1296. The city layout was shaped as a rectangle surrounded by a moat and the city walls. The walls, moat and many gates were built to protect the city from the threat of attack by the Mongol Empire in Burma. There were in fact, eight gates according to the compass directions and each of these gates had an astrological significance. The eastern Tha Phae Gate signified prosperity and is believed to have been the main gate from where monks, travellers and traders entered the city.
Over the years minor invasions along with people climbing over it have left the wall dilapidated in many areas. However, the Tha Phae Gate has remained almost unchanged and has been re-built over the years.
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