Thanks for your prompt answer. There are 65 of us, and we booked our trip through TBI, a company I have used for years and have always found them to be completely reliable. The hotel they are using in Bangkok is the Eastin (formerly the Empress) and the one in Chiang Mai is The Chiang Mai Orchid (formerly a Sheraton.) The descriptions sound good, but I know you can't always rely on the hotel's hype. So I have to trust TBI. We used them for a trip to South America a few months ago, and the hotels were wonderful. I'm sure it is less costly to use a local company, but for a group I just can't do that.
Your comments about the avian virus are appreciated. It does concern me. The news yesterday announced there were 5 cases of SARS in Thailand ! I was surprised because the State Dept. briefing did not mention that. Maybe they just haven't caught up.
If anyone has suggestions for either Bangkok or Chaing Mai, I'd love to hear them. Although we have a pretty full program, we do have free time and don't want to miss anything.