La Paz sits at an altitude of between 3600 to 4000 metres above sea level in the Bolivian Altiplano. It is the highest administrative capital in the world and home to over a million of people. It was also a first experience for us, being several thousand meters above the sea level.
Our visit to this landmark of Rio happened rather spontaneously after a rainy morning turned into a sunny afternoon. One of the first advices we got after arriving to Rio: If you get few hours of sunshine, use them as they might not last. So we saw an opportunity on the move and grabbed it.
First, I want to say few words about the surrounding area. Next to the Sugarloaf Mountain is a smaller hill called “Morro da Urca” that one must reach before getting to the actual mountain. The classic way to reach the Sugarloaf Mountain (SLM) is to take two cable cars, first to the Morro da Urca and second one leading to the top of the SLM.
The alternative way is to hike to the top of the Morro da Urca and then take the cable car for the second leg of the journey. That is what we did.
We started our journey from the beach at the base of the hills. It is so beautiful there – we only regretted not having time to lie around and enjoy the sun.
Lantau Island is one of the islands reachable from Hong Kong by the MTR. It is a home to Tian Tian Buddha, “the biggest outdoor seated bronze Buddha” in the world. Next to it is Po Lin monastery, a peaceful and beautiful place. All this is surrounded by green hills and lush forests, perfect for hiking.
There is a cable car that takes you from the metro station to the Buddha in 25 minutes. The ride goes past sea and breathtaking landscapes of hills and forest. Remember to book in advance online as otherwise queues can be up to two hours. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride. And even some hikers underneath us.