Introducing Yùshù (Jyekundo)
Yùshù (Jyekundo) is one of the remotest corners of one of the remotest provinces of China. Straddling the grasslands of Amdo to the north and the deep forested valleys of Kham to the south, the prefecture is overwhelmingly (97%) Tibetan and dotted with dozens of impressive monasteries.
Long an important caravan town along the trade routes to Tibet, Yùshù bursts at the seams during its three-day horse festival (from 25 July), when tens of thousands of Tibetans swagger into town. At any time of year, you’ll see crowds of Tibetans hunkered down in the central square selling yartse gompa, a highly valued medicinal caterpillar fungus collected from the surrounding grasslands.
The few foreigners who make it out here are mostly headed along the wonderful overland route to western Sìchuān, though it is theoretically possible to continue south to Nangchen and on to remotest eastern Tibet.
Note that there’s nowhere to change money in Yùshù.