On paper, cable cars seem simple enough, but step into one and the feat of engineering becomes startlingly impressive, to say the least. How does it do what it does? Maybe it's best to just focus on the views you wouldn't be able to see anywhere else.
Skiers and mountain bikers — and tourists — have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to these wonderful flying elevators. Not to mention Hollywood. Cable cars have provided the setting for some classic action-flick fights, from the Clint Eastwood war film "Where Eagles Dare" to the Bond movie "Moonraker," filmed on the famous Sugarloaf cable car in Rio de Janeiro.
But not every car cable listed below is for kicks. For some cities they're the answer to traffic problems, while for remote communities they're a lifeline. Browse our 10 most notable cable cars of the world below.
World's fastest: Malaysia (pictured at top)
One of Asia's most impressive gondolas, Genting Skyway is a gondola lift connecting Gohtong Jaya and Resorts World Genting in Malaysia. The world's fastest, it reaches a top speed of 13.4 mph and is the longest in Southeast Asia.
Most scenic: France
The Aiguille du Midi cable car in France takes hikers and skiers from the town of Chamonix to within touching distance of the summit of Mount Blanc in just a matter of minutes. For most people, the journey stops there. But the ride across the Vallée Blanche to Pointe Helbronner is even more spectacular, as you soar over one of the finest alpine viewpoints anywhere in the world.
Lifeline to the outside world: China
Some cable cars featured here are examples of incredible engineering, and this is no exception. Clearly, the health and safety standards of the West have yet to catch on here, but for residents of Yushan, China, this 0.62-mile-long cableway provides a valuable lifeline to the outside world — as long as you don't look down.
Open-top travel: Switzerland
From homemade ingenuity to Swiss efficiency, meet the 21st-century cable car — the world's first open-top double decker. It transports passengers to the top of the 6,234-foot Mount Stanserhorn in just over six minutes, offering incredible 360-degree views.
The City of God's cable car: Brazil
Some cities have famous buildings — Rio de Janeiro has its cable car, which provided a memorable fight scene in the Bond flick "Moonraker." Rising to the summit of Sugarloaf, it's an icon. In a city not short of attractions (we mean the beaches and the Christ the Redeemer statue, of course), the cable car holds its own as a wonder in the City of God.
Chinese engineering, Part 2
This cable car was reputed to be the "longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world," with a total length of 4.6 miles and an ascent of 4,196 feet. But we're not sure that's the case, as La Paz (below) has that beat.
Commuting in La Paz: Bolivia
This cable car serves the needs of commuters. At 6.2 miles the teleférico La Paz-El Alto is considered to be the longest aerial cable car in the world. It was built as a solution to traffic congestion in the city, opening in 2014.
Highway across the Thames: England
London famously has 34 bridges so you'd think the city wouldn't need any more methods for crossing the Thames River. Wrong. In 2012, the Emirates Air Line cable car opened. At 295 feet off the ground, it's the most scenic way to cross the river, offering great views across the UK capital.
Longest unsupported span: Canada
It's fair to say the Canadians are pretty proud of this one, the Peak 2 Peak gondola, which links up the Whistler Blackcomb resorts. It has the honor of being the longest unsupported span in the world (9,921 feet) and the highest lift of its kind in the world, at 1,430 feet above the valley floor.
World's highest: Venezuela
With contenders like La Paz (one of the world's highest cities) and the cable car across Mount Blanc (see above), there's some stiff competition for the world's highest cable car. But it's Venezuela's Mérida Cable Car that takes the prize. It begins at an altitude of 5,381 feet and finishes at 15,633 feet. That's high enough to die from altitude sickness.
Get the best new stories from RedBull.com delivered directly to you — sign up for our email newsletter now.