Glass Bottomed Cable Car

Glass Bottomed Cable Car

c car 2 c car 1 c car 5

Not for anyone afraid of heights, although not as scary as they look, these special cabins on the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car on Lantau island in Hong Kong are pretty spectacular.

The whole 5.7km cable car ride is exciting enough to begin with, as it lasts 25 minutes and takes you from the town of Tung Chung near the new international airport, turns 60 degrees after crossing the Tung Chung Bay, then sweeps you over the green mountains to the north of Lantau island where the giant Buddha statue sits at Po Lin monastery.

There are amazing views even if you choose to ride the standard cabins, with sweeping panoramas of the sea and mountains, plus (for engineering aficionados) a bird’s eye view of the entire airport and the work on what will eventually be an astonishing bridge connection to Macau.

With the crystal cabin option, the whole floor is glass, so you can watch the water or the mountain slopes roll past beneath your feet. It is more expensive, costing HK$255 return instead of $185, but turned out to be entirely worth it.

I confess I was wavering over this as I queued to get my ticket… I do sometimes get all wobbly-kneed in glass elevators and the like, but in the end I could not let the opportunity pass by. I started out gritting my teeth and hanging on tight to the safety rail, but was swiftly entranced by the view and the crazy brilliance of the whole idea, and surprised myself by not feeling giddy in the least.

The whole day on Lantau was a lot of fun, with the hike up to the Buddha, vegetarian lunch at the monastery and a side trip to a traditional fishing village. I would love to go back one day, and will certainly be choosing the crystal option again.