Several highlights of this old town, the Nacy ancient music show and those tea houses are my favorites.
That show is well-known as three "old": old instrument--those are all real things passed down by families, old players--average age is over 70 sometimes few players even fall into sleep on the stage, old music--can get back up over hundreds of years. The theater for this show just positioned in old town. An old native dressed Dung-bah who actually is a respected scholar from village would sit by the gateway to meet everyone entering the theater. Inside the theater everything is decorated completely Nacy style. English subtitles will be played in a monitor on the right corner beside the stage during the show.
The show itself doesn't really make pretty much sense however it's an impressive experience anyway.
And those teahouses are just all the same or all different depends upon the way to learn. My personal way is reading in a lovely sunny afternoon. Ppl can actually kill a whole day in there for those bars or tea houses all serve three meals as well.
Several bookshops would be my recommendation specially for backpackers. Some shopkeepers would give you honest advices or tips about your tour or staying if you could creat friendship with'em within couple of min.
There's another fantastic old town even older, cleaner, cuter and less commercial nearby called "Shu-he". Passengers better spend days there before you are out of time.
Shangri-La in Tibetan means "lost paradise", it became world wide famous mostly cos of that book called . The current Shangri-La county was originally called Chung-dien, a small Tibetan county still belongs to Yunnan province. That's one of those extreme beautiful places still remained in this world. Normally a biking or hiking should be just around Lijiang city. If going further to Shangri-La you need rent a van or even book a package tour, the best season should be summer specially for photographers. I hate myself for I yet haven't been there though I already got Lijiang over 20 times, I was so close to her even just one step away.
And I'll be there.