In Venice, the gondolas glide on water through canals, but Taiwan's Maokong Gondola soars through the air. The trip offers a bird's-eye view of tea plantations on an island renowned for its quality brews. The 2½-mile route also offers a view of downtown T'aipei, the white blooms of tung trees in spring, or beautiful apricot tree blossoms in winter. After the 20-minute ride, step from the eight-passenger cable car onto the Emerald Peaks, home to several Buddhist temples and tea shops. Order the popular Lengdong or Yueguang tea, or try dishes such as rice and chicken cooked with chopped tea leaves. Before you make the journey back down, sip Iron Buddha tea -- a strong variety, naturally -- to fuel your flight. taipeitravel.net
- Taiwan's Maokong Gondola passenger tickets from NT$50.