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5 challenging cable car rides
You can now ride a cable car across the Thames. But you don't need to travel to London for some amazing high-wire views
One thrill-seeker's joy is another mortal’s horror.
But riding a cable car is not all about vertigo sweats and dizzy spells. Cruising over sweeping views or reaching an exceptional spot can make a bad ride worthwhile.
Londoners and visitors to the city -- perfect timing with the Olympics about to break -- can now hop on a cable car across the River Thames.
But if city vistas are too much like old hat, here are five other great cable car rides to try.
1. Tianmen Shan cable car: Zhangjiajie Resort, China
China’s Tianmen Shan cable car is the longest cable car ride in the world, covering a distance of 7,455 meters. The car runs from Zhangjiajie downtown up to Tianmen Shan, which translates as "Heaven’s Gate Mountain."
Once you arrive you get to witness towering cliffs, karst caves and rare sub-tropical forests.
The steepest section of the trail reaches a climbing angle of 38 degrees. By comparison, the world standard for cable car maximum climbing angle is 45 degrees.
If you think that's scary, consider the acrobats who come here to wire-walk.
2. Masada cableway: Masada, Israel
Not traversing mountains, but the ruins of an ancient fortress, this cable car runs above Israel’s Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea.
It is the lowest aerial tramway in the world, with its lowest station 257 meters below sea level and its summit station 33 meters above sea level.
As well as views of the old fortress, the Masada cableway gives you a chance to see the sunrise over the desert.
3. Aiguille du Midicable cable car: Chamonix Mont Blanc, France
Want to admire the glaciers in Europe? Aiguille du Midi, the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, is the one to board.
It takes just 20 minutes to climb 2,800 meters from the town of Chamonix to the high Alps.
The car stops at a terrace with views of the highest peaks in France, Italy, and Switzerland. A lift to the summit terrace at 3,842 meters offers a 360-degree view and includes Europe's highest peak, Mont Blanc.
Remember to bring warm clothes, sunscreen and sunglasses.
4. Ngong Ping 360 cable car: Hong Kong
Offering the option of a cabin with a glass floor, this cable ride looks straight down to the rolling grasslands and sea.
The 5,700-meter ride from Tung Chung travels to the Giant Buddha and Precious Lotus Monastery, offering views of the town on the way as well as the South China Sea, Lantau country park and Hong Kong International Airport.
5. Genting skyway cable car: Genting Highlands, Malaysia
Here you can ride the world’s fastest mono cable car, with a maximum speed of six meters per second. It only takes 11 minutes to transport passengers to the hilltop.
Once at the top, you can continue the thrills in a casino, or in a theme park for corkscrew rides, the “express roller”, “turbo drop”, or “sky venture.”
Set high on the Malaysian peninsula, Genting Highlands is a modern family entertainment resort where children and adults can both find plenty of entertainment.
Best of all, Genting skyway cable car provides free rides for children shorter than 90 centimeters.