How to Visit Tsagaan Suvarga + What to Know About Camping in Mongolia

Tsagaan Suvarga, a magnificent rock formation known as the White Stupa isn’t only one of the country’s best kept secrets, it’s one of the best places to camp in Mongolia. Here’s how to visit it – including the best route, when to visit, and what to know about camping in Mongolia.

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Mongolia continues to blow me away. Even though I’ve been calling this country home for the last few years, I’ve yet to make it south. (I know, you have every right to kick me in the shins.)

I’ve always shied away from where tourists flock, and once they land in Ulaanbaatar, south is usually the direction they head. It’s where most tour companies go because it’s where most of those incredibly gorgeous photos of fluffy camels and dunes come from. It’s one of those places that’s so dang beautiful it makes a “top destinations you have to see before you die” list EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.

To ease myself into southern explorations, I decided to start small. To start with a place that I could do within a few days, without stress, and without overwhelming myself. And one that’s perfectly capable of doing as a solo female traveler. It was time to camp in Mongolia’s Middle Gobi province and finally see Tsagaan Suvarga, Mongolia’s magnificent White Stupa.

Let’s get into the driving route I took to get to Tsagaan Suvarga, including road conditions and timing and why it’s one of the best things to do in Mongolia.

Tsagaan Suvarga Mongolia

What is Tsagaan Suvarga and where is it located?

Tsagaan Suvarga is located near Ulziit Soum in the Dundgobi Aimag, or Middle Gobi Province as we call it in English. The Middle Gobi Province is just north of the South Gobi Province, where Khongoryn Els, or the “Singing Dunes” are located. These are usually the main attraction for tourists coming to the Gobi Desert.

But I wasn’t going to head to any of those places during my road trip. I had my sights set on Tsagaan Suvarga, a rock formation that’s one of the most unique and incredible white limestone rock formations on the planet.

At it’s tallest, the stupa comes in at 60 meters (almost 200 feet) and is 400 meters (1,300 feet) long.

Where to Car Camp Mongolia

When to Visit Tsagaan Suvarga

Like most places and things to do in Mongolia, the best time to visit Mongolia and its most beautiful natural wonders is from May to October. May and June are the most preferred months since July and August temperatures become hot and uncomfortable. September and October are also beautiful months for camping and sightseeing in Mongolia, as long as you pack a properly rated cold-weather sleeping bag for temperatures that are known to drop drastically at night.

How do You Get to Tsagaan Suvarga (the White Stupa) from Ulaanbaatar?

Well, it’s tricky. But, don’t worry, we got you.

If you haven’t already done so, start by downloading It’s the best app for navigating Mongolia’s (sometimes complicated) paved road and dirt road system. If you try to navigate your way to Tsagaan Suvarga with Google Maps, well, good luck. Google will tell you it’s impossible.

Next, and this is an important one, you need a 4×4. A good one. A reliable one. One with good tires (and a spare tire and a tire jack, just in case). Max trax and a shovel aren’t a bad idea either if you plan to head off the dirt road in search of an epic camping spot. Take it from me, I learned my lesson the hard way on this one.

At 420 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar and taking approximately seven hours to reach by car. You can travel to Tsagaan Suvarga in as little as one day, or you can easily visit it as part of a longer more in-depth trip down to the Gobi Desert and the Ömnögovi Aimag or South Gobi Province.

Finally, and this is a big one, don’t be skimpy about fuel. Just don’t. You should never let your tank fall below a half tank in Mongolia, and no lower than a quarter tank on this adventure. No excuses.

From Ulaanbaatar expect this drive to take approximately seven hours, with the last hour being completely off-road. And! Bring small denominations of cash for toll roads. If you manage to not mess up and not take the road to the airport (a 2,000 MNT toll road), you’ll only have another 1,000 to pay in tolls once you reach Mandelgovi.

Remember what we said about Google Maps? Well, for this guide’s purposes, this is the best way to share where the turn off road before you cross provinces starts – and the shortest route back to the stupa. Look for a brown arrow pointing east. This is your turn off and these will be the signs that lead the way. will try to take you through Tsogt-Ovoo, in the South Gobi Province. These are lies! You don’t need to go this far south. In fact, please don’t. It adds a lot of extra time to your trip. Instead, look for this road.

On the road, slow drivers use their turn signal to indicate that it’s clear for you to pass. So, keep that in mind as you’re making your way down to Tsagaan Suvarga for your little Mongolia camping adventure.

Field Notes on Finding Petrol in Mongolia

When you’re in Mongolia, always have cash on you. Always. Smaller gas stations will not be able to accept credit cards.

To fill up your tank, say “dvvrgii” to the gas attendant. (You don’t fill your own tank here.)

Diesel cars in Mongolia are… a pain. Once you leave the city, expect to find only 92 (or 80) available at most of the smaller gas stations. (There have even been premium gas shortages recently (August 2021). So, do what you will with that information.)

If you are dumb enough to risk it, make sure you don’t have a ½ tank after Khuld, which also happens to be where the road starts to get worse and worse.

Sleeping Next to the Stupa: What to Know about Setting up Camp in Mongolia

The terrain in this part of Mongolia is, tough. Like, how do you like sleeping on rock, tough. A rooftop tent – if it’s an option – is our preferred way to camp in Mongolia.

Not only is it a safer way to sleep, but you’re also away from the bugs (and off the cold ground). Doesn’t that sound much better?

When choosing your camp stove, keep in mind that you won’t find fire wood in most of Mongolia. What you will find – and what most herders use – is cow dung. So, if that doesn’t sound appealing to you (we didn’t think so), you’ll need a gas stove. You can find gas canisters at most grocery stores across Mongolia.

Also, no firewood. And no water. Don’t expect to camp next to any rivers here. Bring enough water from the city to support yourself – drinking, cooking, cleaning, etc. – your entire trip. (Approximate two gallons per day, per person.)

Pack layers. Did you hear us? Or should we shout from the top of the White Stupa? PACK LAYERS. Understood?

Author: Breanna Wilson

Hi! Sain uu! I’m Breanna, an American travel writer and adventurer living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for more than 5 years. I’ve written for and been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, Forbes, and the New York Times, among others. Read more of my Mongolia travel articles here.

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