We stayed in the small, historic town of Lijiang before doing an overnight at the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Lijiang is a well-travelled tourist spot, and the traditional portion of the town was used in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for some of the shots. We also visited a small village north of town, and visited a fairly well known traditional doctor.
Lijiang is nice in that it that it embodies the traditionial Naxi culture of Yunnan, even if it is a big tourist destination. Ot is a nice town with narrow, cobblestone streets, canals and traditional Yunnan houses along the narrows lanes, complete with red lanterns that make for pleasant evenings. The Naxi people were very colorful clothing, and you can buy it in the many tourist shops in Lijiang.
We rode our bikes into the countryside north of town, and visited Dr. Ho (as featured in a Bruce Chatwin novel and now in Lonely Planet). Many people have visited this herbalist over the years, and he has a huge collection of business cards and newspaper articles about his work. He sat us down, gave us some tea and talked for a while about his youth learning english from American Air Force people stationed at an airfield while the Burma road was being built to supply China in World War II, and then through his rougher times under the communists.
He said he knows many people in America, and if we meet any of his friends, we should tell them he is fit, strong and healthy as ever. He is in his late 80s and seems pretty spry. Jason has a cough so he took us into his herb room (full of red tubs of crushed herbs) and gave us some medicine for the cough.
Armed with some ancient Chinese herbs to keep the cough at bay, we hiked through the impressive Tiger Leaping Gorge, and stayed one night at the Halfway Guesthouse (along the trail), which has a deck with a great view of the gorge.