Home elevators are among the shortest and smallest lifts in the world, but we enjoy sharing fun and intriguing information about elevators in general. You may be surprised to learn about these tallest elevators in the world as they are true feats of engineering.
In fact, 2 of the tallest elevators are not in a building and are nowhere near a city! Below, we share details about the top 5 longest elevators on our planet. (feature image credit: “Zhangjiajie National Forest Park” (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) by kaboem)
#5 - Bailong Elevator – Hunan, China
The 5th tallest elevator is actually the tallest outdoor lift in the world. It transports Zhangjiajie National Forest Park visitors 1,070 feet up the side of one of the park’s many sandstone pillars. It is the elevator clinging to the cliff in the feature image above.
The spectacular Zhangjiajie landscape features a dense forest surrounding towering sandstone pillars that inspired James Cameron’s floating mountains in Avatar (2009).
The lofty elevator offers forest canopy views from its three 2-story glass cars that each carry 46 people to the pinnacle in 1 minute and 32 seconds. The innovative elevator enables visitors to experience a bird’s eye view of the entire park which when built in 2002 reduced the need for overnight accommodations for the many tourists. This reduced the negative ecological impact of sharing this natural beauty with the world by making it possible to experience the entire forest in less than a day as a hike up the mountain takes at least 2-1/2 hours.
#4 - Burj Khalifa – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The world’s tallest building, unsurprisingly, offers one of the world’s tallest elevators. Burj means “tower” in Arabic, the language spoken in UAE.
Some people are confused about the location of the towering edifice as it is in Dubai, but named Burj Khalifa, the Khalifa Tower in English, to honor Sheikh Khalifa ibn Zayed Al Nahyan, the leader of the UAE’s neighboring emirates, Abu Dhabi. Though the name Khalifa is from Abu Dhabi, the building was erected in UAE.
Jump to 00:22 to see the ride.
The mixed-use tower with 1,044 residential units boasts an elevator that traverses a staggering 163 stories totaling 1,654 feet. Its high-tech double-decker elevator cars offer an amusement park-like experience while ascending to the spectacular views of the city rising out of surrounding desert sand. The ride will cost you about $45, approximately the same as the One World Trade Center elevator ride in lower Manhattan that only goes up 94 floors.
#3 - Taipei 101 – Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei 101 once held the distinction of being the tallest building in the world, but was later eclipsed by Burj Khalifa. But it still impresses.
Located in the tawny Taipei commercial district, Xinyi District, it offers a high-end shopping destination and world class dining. Its elevator carries its passengers from the 5th to the 89th floor 1,253 feet above the ground to explore the views of the bustling city from the observatory.
Jump to 01:07 to see the ride.
Taipei 101 once held the distinction of being the tallest building in the world, but was later eclipsed by Burj Khalifa. But it still impresses. Located in the tawny Taipei commercial district, Xinyi District, it offers a high-end shopping destination and world class dining. Its elevator carries its passengers from the 5th to the 89th floor 1,253 feet above the ground to explore the views of the bustling city from the observatory. The 660-metric-ton ball-like damper that protects the building from swaying is exhibited at this level.The 660-metric-ton ball-like damper that protects the building from swaying is exhibited at this level. Visitors can go to the 91st floor to experience the outdoor observatory.
While the elevator car is not as entertaining as the Burj Khalifa experience, riders are treated to the world’s second fastest elevator traveling at a mind-bending 37.7 miles per hour. It was once the fastest but has now been surpassed by the Shanghai Tower elevator. Passengers scale the 84 stories in a mere 37 seconds. The impressive tower that looks a bit like a pagoda or even a stick of bamboo has earned many accolades including the world’s tallest sundial and the world’s largest New Year’s Eve countdown clock. The ride is definitely worth the ~$18 price tag.
#2 - Shanghai Tower – Pudong, China
This exceptionally beautiful skyscraper towers above bustling district in Pudong. The elevator of this 2,073-foot 127-floor tower built in 2016 is the tallest elevator inside a building traveling from the at breakneck, yet thanks to exceptional engineering comfortable, speeds of just under 46 miles per hour. The ultra-high-speed elevator carries passengers from the basement floor to the 119th floor in 55 seconds.
The ride costs about $25.
Jump to 00:46 to see the ride.
The mixed-use structure comprises nine cylindrical towers stacked on top of one another and enclosed by the interior layers of the building’s facade. Each zone offers public spaces in an atrium with cafés, gardens, commercial areas, and panoramic views of the city. The base floors of the tower include retail and entertainment areas.
#1 - Mponeng Gold Mine – South Africa
The tallest elevator in the world is not inside a building but rather descends 1.4 miles (yes, miles) into the earth. The three-level cages of the lift transport 120 workers in just three minutes at a speed of just over 40 miles per hour. It is hard to believe the mine’s elevator was built in 1986 (almost 40 years ago!).
Sadly, due to safety concerns and the fact that this elevator has the tough job of transporting 3500 miners and tons of ore daily, the elevator is not open to the public.
Jump to 09:38 to see the ride.
Once workers exit the elevator in the mine, they often must walk a mile or more to the active mining area. That’s a long way from the escape hatch during a shaft collapse or earthquake which are more frequent than you might guess. In fact, there are more than 236 miles of tunnels throughout the mine that get longer each day as new gold deposits are sought…that is longer than the New York subway.
Located about an hour southwest of Johannesburg, Mponeng is the deepest operating mine in the world and the deepest manmade hole in the world. The mine currently produces 250,000 ounces of gold a year, but is expected to be exhausted within a decade.
Your Home Elevator
While these engineering feats are intriguing, they have little to do with your home elevator except that the care and concern for safety that went into installing these amazing elevators is the same level that Home Elevator of Houston utilizes. We carry top brands with superb safety reputations and our elevator installers are continually trained, licensed, insured, and bonded to protect your home and your family.
Learn More about Home Elevators
We look forward to seeing you in our showroom to experience our home elevator technology for yourself or an invitation to your home to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. Our certified aging-in-place specialists will answer all your questions about costs of home elevators and which will fit your needs and your home best. Call (713) 360 7353.