From here it's a short hop to your final destination – Shanghai. New China at its most confident, it's all go-getting attitude and sci-fi skyline, a city of fabulous contrasts mixing European-style boulevards with dramatic modernity.
The beautiful Yu Gardens and Old Quarter are virtually all that remains of the pre-colonial days, while the French Concession is a leafy neighbourhood with a definite Parisian air, and the famous Longhua Temple and pagoda.
Once home to banks, newspapers and consulates, the Bund's grand colonial buildings overlooking the Huangpu River are now art galleries, designer boutiques, smart restaurants and plush hotels (including one of our favourite places to stay, The Peninsula).
Across the river is the Central Business District, Pudong with the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, the pagoda-like Jinmao Tower with the world's highest bar on the 87th floor, and the Shanghai World Financial Centre with the world's loftiest observation deck and the über-funky Park Hyatt hotel.
Then there's charming Lijiang, a World Heritage Site in the shadow of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain with traffic-free cobbled streets and Naxi flute music drifting through the air. Its main street is bisected by a stream spanned by stone bridges; at night floating candles drift past red lanterns outside restaurants, where staff sing in good-natured rivalry.
Head into the mountains and you pass through fabled 'Shangri-La', eventually reaching Lhasa at a heady 12,000 ft above sea level. It's dominated by the famous Potala Palace, home to successive Dalai Lamas from the 7th century. The heart of old Tibet is the Barkhor, its streets teeming with pilgrims surrounding the Jokhang Temple, the region's holiest shrine.