Well, I just booked my tickets. SFO to Bangkok and then straight on to Chaing Mai. It ended up costing $956 all together. About a hundred dollars less than I originally thought.
It'll be almost exactly four years since I went with Krista, the girls and Joyce (Krista's mom). See Thailand Sojourn if you want to know about that trip. I could've called it Thailand for the Timid! It'll be so different being on my own, and I've been a little bit scared at the prospect. It's weird to see some amazing sight and not have anyone to share the experience with.
On the other hand there will be a lot less luggage to deal with!
My plan is to hit the Grace Dental Clinic my first full day, even though I expect to be pretty wiped out. The crowns can take up to 7 days apparently, and I don't know if they include weekends in that estimate. Grace is the most famous clinic catering to Farang (westerners) and has a fantastic reputation for quality. It's also the most expensive clinic in Chiang Mai, but still much much cheaper than care in the US.
There's a wonderful Sunday Walking Street Market in Chiang Mai that we missed last time. I'll get to check that out, then my plan is to head up to the little village of Pai and chill out for a few days. It's about 4 hours away by bus, but supposedly the trip includes fantastic scenery. If I'm feeling extremely daring, I might rent a motorcycle to do the trip--they say to allow six hours for all the stops, including waterfalls to bathe under. But I doubt I'd do it. Last time I rented a scooter (in Bali) I put it in a ditch and cut my leg up.
Returning to Chiang Mai for my lovely new crowns, I'll be just in time for the Flower Festival, one of the three big yearly events in Chiang Mai. I'm totally excited to get to see it. They say there are over 6000 orchid varieties alone on display. And 'on display' means big floats covered with real flowers and pretty girls an arm's length away. It sounds awesome.
From what I can make out (not knowing exactly what dental work I need) I'll get to enjoy this trip and still save at least $1000 (maybe closer to $2000) over the cost here in Santa Rosa. And I have no doubt the work I get in Thailand will be superior.
Even so, this trip is expensive and I'm starting to think about what I might buy there to bring back and sell. Maybe some yummy silver jewelry? Silk scarves? Or some hill tribe crowns and skirts and such? Any requests?
I am extremely grateful to Krista, letting me go off halfway around the world and fill my soul up with some adventure. I'll be gone for 13 days! We've never been apart that long in 23 years.