Stray paid his deposit today for his TEFL course and I booked our flights as far as Kuala Lumpur, leaving Australia 21st October 2010. I am waiting for the price to go down for the flight to Chiang Mai...I am such a cheapskate :), but on the other hand, it doesn't hurt to save money now, for later.
I am keeping a very close eye on the political unrest via Google news. Although the reports by the big broadcasters like CNN, Bangkok Post and BBC can sometimes be on the 'sensationalisitc' side, reporting what they think is right, in too much of a hurry. I also refer to forums and websites of people (native Thais and farang) who are living there at present.
Paknam Web Forum (a bit slow to load the page) and Stickman are proving to be quite helpful. Stickman actually visits the troubled areas regularly and takes photos. Both shed light on the actual severity of the protests...sometimes disproving news reports...sometimes, making you really think about the possible violence.
Chiang Mai Mail also provides some news of where we will be studying, although, I suspect is quite 'sterile' in its reporting.
At present we are not concerned about Chiang Mai and are in contact with people living there. But, at the end of the day, we hope that Thailand will have sorted out their unrest by the end of the year. If it escalates, we will have to consider delaying our trip.
PS. The most infuriating aspect of the whole situation to date (for me) is the involvement of some idiot Australian living in Thailand and joining the protests. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFUDNW60z8U I wish someone would check out his credentials and visa status. I am sure we would not appreciate it, if the situation was reversed!