Though there are countless cable car journeys available all over the world, the 10 below are arguably the most iconic and impressive and should be added to that adventure bucket list of yours.
1. Table Mountain Cableway, Cape Town, South Africa
Having transported some 24 million passengers to the top of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is not only the quickest and easiest way to summit the most famous of the city’s landmarks (and one of the new 7 wonders of nature), it’s also one of the best ways to enjoy sweeping views of the Cape Town city bowl.
A return ticket on the cableway will cost ZAR$255 (US$19.30) for adults and ZAR$125 for kids aged between 4 to 17. It’s recommended to book your tickets online beforehand. This is because the cable car ride, which has a rotating car allowing for constantly changing views of the surrounding mountain and cityscapes, is extremely popular with tourists.
And if you’re South African and happen to be celebrating your birthday in the Mother City, make sure to redeem your free return ride on the cableway, valid for a week.
2. Sugarloaf Mountain Gondola, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
There really is no better way to take in the beauty of Rio’s peaks, bays and beaches than on the beloved Sugarloaf Mountain Gondola.
The iconic Rio attraction was opened over a century ago in 1912 and since then a staggering number (almost 40 million) of people have enjoyed the ride to the top of the city’s famous Sugarloaf Mountain.
Tickets for this most mandatory of Rio adventures cost R$80 (US$25.21) for adults over the age of 21 and R$40 for those between the ages of 6 to 21. Kids under 6 years old ride for free.
3. Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, USA
Another record-breaking cable car – this time for boasting the world’s largest rotating cabin – the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in California carries passengers over the rugged Chino Canyon towards the pristine Mount San Jacinto State Park.
Because of the cabin’s rotating mechanism, passengers are afforded innumerable vantage points from which to appreciate the surrounding mountains and valleys. Once within the Mount San Jacinto Park, visitors can enjoy the unspoiled wilderness of the park which includes over 85km of picturesque hiking trails, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, avid campers and nature lovers.
A trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway will cost adults US$25.95 and kids under the age of 12 US$16.95.
4. Stanserhorn Cabrio, Lucerne, Switzerland
If you’re enticed by the thought of gliding through the sky, unencumbered by walls and ceilings, then this world-first is an absolute must.
Located along the banks of Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne, the Cabrio is the world’s first double-decker cable car where the upper deck is completely open allowing for a wind-through-the-hair freshness and incomparable lake and mountain views.
A one-way trip per adult on the groundbreaking cable car starts at CHF$37 (US$37.97) and will ferry you up through the clouds towards the summit of the Stanserhorn, a quintessentially Swiss 1,900m-high mountain.
5. Mukumbari, Merida, Venezuela
Previously known as Teleferico de Merida, the Mukumbari in Venezuela’s north-western city of Merida is another record-breaking ride, being the world’s highest.
Taking you from Merida up to the towering Espejo Peak, the Venezuelan marvel of engineering will gift you with unending extraordinary views of the Venezuelan Andes.
For international tourists, the cost of this hard-to-beat Andean adventure is US$50.
6. Mi Teleferico, La Paz, Bolivia
Mi Teleferico is not your standard cable car experience geared towards tourists and intrepid travellers. The Bolivian cable car was actually created mainly as a public transit system to ferry local workers between the capital of La Paz and the neighbouring Andean city of El Alto. Though its primary purpose is to aid local workers’ commutes, the stunning mountain and city views provided by the almost 15km long cable car ride have become highly popular with visitors to the South American nation.
7. Ngong Ping 360, Hong Kong
For many visitors to this bustling Asian metropolis, a trip on the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car is on their list of must-do Hong Kong attractions. Besides whisking you on an airborne journey of almost 6km over spectacular Hong Kong mountain, city and sea landscapes, the 25-minute cable car ride also offers the best way to appreciate the size and sheer magnitude of the world-famous attraction, the Big Buddha (or Tian Tan Buddha).
A few cabin options are available, including a standard option, a crystal cabin complete with a thrilling glass-bottom and even a private cabin for the most exclusive experience. If you purchase your tickets online (which is recommended), prices for a standard cabin start from HK$204 (US$26), with kids aged 3 to 11 paying HK$132.
8. Singapore Cable Car Sky Network, Singapore
One of the best ways to enjoy not only vast Singaporea views but also Singapore’s resort mecca, Sentosa Island, is definitely by hopping on the Singapore Cable Car Sky Network. There are two lines: the Mount Faber Line runs from Singapore’s Faber Peak over epic harbour views to Sentosa Island; and the Sentosa Line, runs past most of Sentosa Island’s major attractions.
A number of ticket options are available, including the best value Mount Faber + Sentosa Line package of S$33 (US$24.13) for adults and S$22 for kids.
And in addition to the standard cable car journeys, there are two exciting experiences available, namely the Evening Rider nighttime cable car ride and the super luxurious Dining on Cloud 9 4-course meal in the air dining adventure.
9. Genting Skyway, Malaysia
One of the longest cable car journeys in South-east Asia, the Genting Skyway, soars high above verdant tropical forests from the town of Gohtong Jaya to Resorts World in the gorgeous Genting Highlands of Malaysia. The thrilling journey on the Genting Skyway will allow unrivalled opportunities to see the majestic Malaysian jungles with a bird’s eye view, and because it’s one of the region’s quickest cable car rides, you’ll be scooped up to the mountaintop resort in just over 10 minutes.
10. Ba Na Hills Cable Car, Da Nang, Vietnam
As the world’s longest non-stop, single-wire cable car ride, the journey on the Ba Na Hills Cable Car in Vietnam will certainly be a memorable one. Traversing almost 6km of thick Vietnamese jungle, the cable car was launched in 2013 to commemorate the 38th anniversary of Da Nang’s liberation.
When aboard the 35-passenger gondola, you’ll be able to fully appreciate the panoramic views of the idyllic Vietnamese countryside, characterised by lush vegetation, beautiful waterfalls and undulating hills.
– TEXT BY SAUL LIPCHIK
PHOTOS: NGONG PING CABLE CAR FACEBOOK, RESORTS WORLD GENTING FACEBOOK, SUN WORLD BA NA HILLS FACEBOOK, STANSERHORN CABRIO FACEBOOK (AURA/STANSERHORNBAHN), SISTEMA TELEFERICO MUKUMBARI FACEBOOK, TABLE MOUNTAIN AERIAL CABLEWAY FACEBOOK, BONDINHO FACEBOOK, PALM SPRINGS AERIAL TRAMWAY FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.