All Access: Thailand

If you're a regular Early Show viewer, you know that as much as Dave Price likes to travel, he really likes to give away trips to fantastic places.

For instance, over the summer, while on his Great American Vacation, he not only traveled the U.S., he also gave away Caribbean vacations to all sorts of deserving folks.

Now it's the fall, and Dave is at it again -- traveling the country to meet his fans and, at the same time, giving away jaw-dropping trips to the far corners of the globe. And the first recipient of a Dave Price Fall 2007 All-Access Pass was Christine Palladino of Syosset, N.Y., a mother of four, including one son with Down Syndrome. Christine wrote in her application that she was ready for an adventure -- and that's what she got: a whirlwind weekend trip to Thailand.

After an 18-hour Thai Airways flight, she, Dave and his merry crew of travel elves landed in Bangkok, where they stayed at the Four Seasons hotel; Christine was so overwhelmed with her sumptuous suite that she choked up (we're guessing the grueling jet lag might have played a part in that, as well).

After dining on some exotic dishes like green papaya salad picked up at a street market, Christine and Dave went to the Suan Luam Night Bazaar, a night market, where she successfully learned a few lessons about haggling over prices. The next day they visited some local landmarks before heading on to Chiang Mai and a stay at the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

After watching some local wood carvers, Christine and Dave had a once-in-a-lifetime experience: a walk through the local fields atop an elephant. Christine was so impressed, she's now thinking of trading in her car for a more energy efficient model that runs on peanuts. Afterward they watched, amazed, as an elephant painted a picture of flowers -- and the word "Thailand."

And while they were on the subject of elephants, there was a visit to the elephant dung factory, where they, um, denature the dung and, through various processes, make it into (odorless) paper. "I'll never look at dung the same way again," joked Christine. "Our work here is dung," replied Dave.

Then it was on to Phuket, an island in the southern province of Thailand, where they checked into the Trisara beachfront resort. Almost completely destroyed in the tsunamis of December, 2004, the Phuket tourist area is back up and running, and Dave and Christine toured the pristine beaches and even went for a jet ski ride in the Andaman Sea.

Then it was time to pack their suitcases and depart for home, their bags stuffed with souvenirs and their minds filled with the sights and sounds and smells of this exotic country.

Next, Dave will be in Charlotte, N.C., where he will award his next All-Access Pass to a deserving person and whisk them away for the trip of a lifetime. Where will they be headed? Watch The Early Show on Friday to find out.

Clarification: Medjet Assist is a private membership for emergency medical evacuation; if a member is ever hurt or sick, they are picked up in a medically equipped plane and flown home to the hospital of their choice. Medjet Assist is giving a free year's membership to every All Access Pass recipient.