Like neighboring Golog prefecture, Yushu is a high, cold, (mostly) nomadic area which stretches from the Bayankala mountains to the borders of Sichuan and the TAR. Famed for being the “三江源” (sanjiangyuan, three rivers source) – the source of the Yangtze, Yellow and Mekong rivers – Yushu is part of the Tibetan region of Kham, and its people accordingly speak a variant of the Kham dialect of Tibetan (as opposed to the Amdo dialect prevalent throughout other areas of Qinghai).
Yushu was struck by a major earthquake in April 2010, which resulted in the entire prefectural capital (as well as many nearby towns) being completely destroyed. Consequently, Yushu town – currently (2011) populated primarily by rowdily roving bands of male migrant workers – is not the best place for travelers to visit. However, the outlying areas of the prefecture – and the spectacular mountain, river-gorge, and grassland areas throughout the region – are well worth visiting, and the people will definitely appreciate the meager marginal increase in income your ‘tourism’ is bringing. Special warning: beware of the especially vicious dogs which populate the region with a HongKongesque density. Throw rocks at any that threaten you to ensure safe passage.