Ron Emmons
SCMP Contributor
Ron Emmons is a British writer and photographer and the author of Teak Lord, a novel set in and around Chiang Mai during the late 19th-century teak boom.

Teak barons built in a style that blended local and imported traditions, with a mortar-built downstairs and sheltered colonnades with gingerbread fretwork upstairs … now hotels are doing the same

Weather is central to Thai rice farmers’ lives, as they plough, plant and harvest based on the rainfall; and pray to the goddess of rice for a good harvest – the difference between feast and famine.

Lamphun, near Chiang Mai, is the epicentre of northern Thailand’s longan fever during summer, with a festival that includes fruit judging, an eating race and a fancy-dress competition.

In Chiang Mai, Thailand, cannabis is everywhere – in drinks, food, spa treatments, medicines for depression, anxiety and better sleep, and in hemp clothes.


The first luxury hotel to open in the tourist-dependent city in northern Thailand since the pandemic slashed visitor numbers, the Melia Chiang Mai hopes to spur a rebound in its fortunes.

Chiang Mai in Thailand has had only a handful of Covid-19 cases but the lack of international visitors has crippled tourist-related businesses. Some are finding new ways to cope.