Getting around ranges from a placid boat ride through the Chao Phraya river to a standstill cab ride on gridlocked rush hour highways. Our number one tip? Kill time looking at the endless billboards of King Bhumibol.
Bangkok simultaneously offers the best and worst of transportation in Southeast Asia: While a kilometers-long taxi ride can take hours, a minutes-long water taxi sweeps you upstream with a fresh breeze. Tuk-tuk rides mean a detour to every second-rate Buddha, silk store and jewelry market in Bangkok--though you might be into that!
This city is not for the naïve or the trusting. Stay alert, skeptical, keep an eye on your wallet and insist, before you get into anything motorized, that your driver takes you where you want to go. From Suvarnabhumi Airport into town, a taxi should cost no more than 300 Baht (about $10). Settle on a price and make sure your driver starts the meter.
Instead of positioning yourself as a tourist, avoid the hassle of the constant con games and do like the locals. Walk if you can, or for a pleasant air-conditioned reprieve from the afternoon sun, ride the Skytrain from end to end (fares range from 15 to 40 baht).
Even better: Take the Chao Phraya River Express from the Skytrain's Sapan Thaksin stop to the Royal Palace, or just take the riverboat at night for the views of Bangkok's skyline.