Thapae Gate is one of Chiang Mai’s best known historic monuments. Known as Pratu Thapae in Thai, it is one of the four original gates built into the Old City wall in the year 1296. Thapae is on the eastern side of the city and the closest gate to the Ping River. Although some reconstruction work was done in the 1970s, the basic structure is still the same one the legions of workers under the command of King Mengrai built more than 700 years ago.
Thapae Gate remains an important monument to the heritage of Chiang Mai and is the focal point of events for many of the city’s annual festivals. Parades for the Flower Festival, Songkran Festival and Loy Krathong Festival either go straight across the Thapae Gate plaza and through the gate itself or around it. Thapae Gate is also at the east end of the popular Sunday Walking Street Market.
Thapae and the three other three gates to the city plus the four corners are all that remain of King Mengrai’s wall. Chiang Mai Gate is on the south side, Suan Dok Gate is west and Chang Phuak is north. The two gates added later are no longer standing. The defence moat around the outside of the wall is still intact although bridges have been built across it to give access to the Old City.