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Visit the Valley of the Kings - 3.
The second tomb that Anne and I decided to visit was the tomb of Ramses VI.
The tunnel was short but the air was nice and cool. It seemed as though every square inch of wall was covered in some form of relief, carving or hieroglyphics but it was the 4 headless slaves that had their arms bound behind their backs that caught my attention.
I asked the guard what it meant and he told me that the heads were not shown so that the slaves would not have any afterlife.
Once again, I asked the guide if I could take some photos and he said, “10 Pound per photo!” I gave him 10 Egyptian pounds and took the photo.
- Adventure Travel
Visit the Valley of the Kings - 2.
Anne and I purchased a 3 tomb pass at the Valley of the Kings. This allowed us access to any three tombs, excluding the tomb of Tutankhamun (Tomb number 62.)
We chose the tomb of Ramses I as our first choice.
One thing you learn very quickly in Egypt is that “most” of the guards, guides and tourist police are open to bribery. In fact, it seems to part of their every day life. You can offer a bribe for most “access” or “photographic” issues and the worst that can happen is that you are met with a polite “no.”.....How do you think I got these photographs!!!!
These two photographs were taken because I bribed the guard with 5 egyptian pounds!
- Adventure Travel
Visit the Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is located on the West Bank of the Nile River in Luxor. From your hotel you can book a tour which will include a boat ride across the Nile and transport to and from the Valley of the Kings. You can choose from cars, busses, donkeys, camels or a combination of two.
The entry fee into the Valley of the Kings, for a three tomb pass, is 80 Egyptian pounds. This fee does not include the tomb of Tutankhamun (Tomb number 62.) If you wish to visit the tomb you must pay for an additional ticket of 120 Egyptian Pounds.
I went to the tourist office and asked for balloon companies. I called them and asked each direct for the price (hotel price is higher as they add commission.) Eventually we went with Viking (after hearing from my hotel that it is a prestige company and price normally at LE300 per person). We were a group of 7 (just met in Luxor) so we were able to get the price down to LE225 per person.
As MikeySoft mentions, the price includes transpportation, snacks, a certificate and a t-shirt.
The flight will be on top of the west bank but as I saw that day, no balloons flew over the VOTK.
- Hot Air Ballooning
See treasures at Valley of the Kings
The real treasures here are the tombs themselves! This is the Valley of the Kings, but note that there is also a Valley of the Queens (I actually saw the Valley of the Queens first before the Kings).
Some are tombs are still under excavation, but looting has desecrated a lot of the tombs. Of course, the most memorable for me is the tomb of King Tut as I have seen movies and documentaries about this tomb several times before. It's like you can still feel the presence of Howard Carter who discovered it. I should have worn khakis to really get into the mood....hehehe
There is an eerie feeling with every tomb you enter as they were built to resemble the Underworld. The name of the Pharaoh for whom the tomb was built is marked well, but you need a really good memory to remember them all!
Be sure to go to the spectacular tomb of Ramses VI --- the wall and ceiling paintings are spectacular! As for the others, I can't remember whose tomb it was, but just be aware that each tomb looks so different and sizes also differ. Actually, Tut's Tomb was very small compared to others and there was a small fee to enter it because of the number of people who want to go in.
Valley of the Kings
The principal must-see site in Luxor has to be the Valley of the Kings for it's historical value as well as it's visual impact!
Your ticket costs 80LE for adults as of Nov. 2008 with concessions for students and children and allows you entry into 3 tombs only. The site is open from 6am-5pm (4pm in winter). No photos are allowed inside the tombs and video cameras are banned everywhere. A cloakroom is available for storage of items. There is also a passenger train that can take you from the main entrance to the site entrance (fee payable - think it was 5 or 8LE return). At the site entrance you can also buy the separately charged tickets for King Tut's Tomb at 100LE for adults and Ramses VI tomb which is 50LE for adults.
The Valley of the Kings is secluded amongst the Theban Hills and away from other sections of the necropolis with the aim of preserving the mummies of the New Kingdom Pharaohs and their treasures forever. Unfortunately, grave robbers did find most of these tombs and stole the vast majority of the valued items; nevertheless, it is still amazing to see the colourful tomb murals.
The first Pharaoh to be buried here was probably Thutmosis I with queens and royal children being buried here too up until Ramses' I time.
The tombs were dug and decorated by the workers from nearby Deir el Medina (Valley of the Workers) and were begun early on in the Pharaoh's reign.
Excavations of the valley started in 1902 when over 30 tombs and pits were cleared. King Tut's tomb was discovered in 1922 and made headlines around the world due to the wealth of treasures found there.
Today, perspex screens have been erected in the tombs to stop the erosion of the murals from human perspiration as cracks were starting to appear in many of the tombs.
On our visit we saw the tomb of Ramses IV, the tomb of Ramses IX and the tomb of Thutmosis III (lots of steps up to this one and a steep downward climb too into the chambers).
Doing the tour independently Part I
If you prefer travelling independently to the Valley of the Kings rather than as one of a tour party then you can try the approach we adopted.
I reckoned it would be easy to find a taxi driver to take us and sure enough within minutes of appearing on the Corniche we were approached by a man who could help us.
He took us across the Nile on a small boat where we were shown an air conditioned car but which would have been too small for all five of us. We were next offered an older, larger but more 'seasoned' car whose driver spoke reasonable English. We negotiated a price after explaining where we wanted to go and which seemed reasonable to us. ( I think we paid LE£300 for the day - almost certainly over the odds but that price seemed OK for five of us for the day).
The driver, Mohammed, had a good sense of humour ( most of the Egyptians seemed to enjoy a joke) and he showed us the car's air conditioning - the window handle - which he kept on the dashboard!
The car was fine and it didn't take long to drive up to the entrance of the Valley of the Kings. Mohammed explained he had to drop us off a short distance from the front gate which again was fine so we made our way through the reception area which had a display of the Valley. I had to buy our entrance tickets from a row of booths. There was no negotiation over the prices but I wished we'd obtained student cards for all of our children. The fee was LE£50 for adults but my 14 year old daughter was half price; our two older boys were considered as adults.
Waving our tickets we did have to be 'assertive' to find our way onto the small land train which takes the visitors the 200 yards up into the valley, dropping off beneath the rest area.
See my other tips for what to do and see in the Valley. Remember to take a hat and some water as it gets really hot up there.
Having been amazed and astonished at the work of the ancients we made our way back to the taxi. We had told him we would be at least 2 hours but were longer. He didn't mind.
Part II follows under the heading The Temple of Hatshepsut.
- Historical Travel
Luxor, West Bank
You can do this on your own. I got the information at the tourist office in Luxor. BTW, the tourist office moved, it is now near the mummy museum on the lower lever near the boats.
The tourist office recommended what to see in places like the Valley of the Kings. They said you can rent a cab on the west bank for 70 Egyptians pounds for about 6 or 7 hours. She say they may ask 1000 LE but tell them the price is 70 and that is all you are going to pay. We paid 70 for what turned out to be almost 8 hours. Just take the local ferry (1 LE) to the west bank. Then get a taxi there.
You should be aware that many people will approach you on the east bank and may take the ferry with you. They say they are a cab driver. But they are not. They just take a cut of the price. So the taxi will get less. It is hard to get rid of them. But we found we just tell them 20 LE and that all you will pay. After a while, they will give up. Then you can pay 70 to the cab on the west bank.
We also paid less on other days where we went to other places but not as long. The taxi is not a guide but will take you to the places you want to go, just read a guide book and maybe stop at the tourist office.
Please rate this tip and my others if you find it useful, interesting, or like the photos.
Good guides and why you should use them
Professional guides make a heck of a lot of difference to your enjoyment of a site. You can do it yourself but you don't know what you are looking at or where things are. On your first trip I would definitely recommend one.
Try Hussein +20 103564540 he is really good with children and can arrange a driver and everything. He charges $80 USD for 3 sites the kids will go free if under 6 and half price if under 12 and if over get an International Student card as they go half price then. That tour Valley if Kings, hatshepsut, Medinet Habu could be done in half a day, start early and finish early
Valley of the Kings
There are about 400 king tombs in the Valley of the Kings, 62 of them was revealed. 7 are open to tourists. But generally they are same, we only enter into the two and get out of and go back. The area is in the real desert. Very very hot and dry, the Sun light is too strong. Be sure to wear sunglass and have sun lotion on your skin.
It's strictly forbidden to take a photo inside the tombs. If camera is found inside, the officer will confiscate the camera ruthlessly.
- Historical Travel
Tomb of Tutankhamen
If you started your tour of Egypt in Cairo, you more than likely saw the great treasures of King Tutankhamen's tomb at the Egyptian National Museum. The museum is where the bulk of the items from the tomb are now located.
To complete your Tutankhamen experience, you must travel to Luxor to see the simplicity of the actual tomb and hear the legend of the tomb's curse. But before you head to the tomb, check out the awesome interactive tour put together by National Geographic to get an idea of the history of the tomb and what you should look for during your own experience.
Valley of the Kings
Some great paintings on the walls of the tombs, a few mummies inside as well. All tombs are alike really, so don't worry which ones you go into. You get any 3 for your entrance fee (Tut's tomb is extra). Don't bother to choose before you arrive based on guidebooks as many tombs are closed each day (at random).
You can buy extra tombs, but unless you are really into this period of history, 3 is plenty.
The site is huge and has no shade, so take plenty of water and take your time walking around.
The site is best reached by taxi from Luxor. The cost is minimal, and he will wait with you to take you back (mine took me to meet his family as well which was a bonus).
Outside the entrance are lots of souvenier shops.
Day trips will stop off on the way back at carpet shops etc. Do not feel pressured into buying.
£E20 for the 3 tomb ticket.
£E40 extra for Tutankhamun but to be honest, this is no different from any other tomb
- Historical Travel
This was one of several tombs in the Valley of the kings. Each tomb is a long narrow structure leading to the tomb itself. Sometimes the lines move slowly and its a big claustrophic inside, but not too bad. The staff inside the tomb i visited were really rude and ignorant. They threatened to take away cameras of westerners but allowed egyptians and others to continue flashing away.
We enjoyed all in perfect temperature
All places where people were buried in Old Egypt are west from the Nile valley. At Sunset.
The normal tickets allow you to visit three tombs. And this is fairly enough for the short time you have on these tours. Even after all these tombs (except the one and only of Echnaton from which almost all is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo) were robbed under the past millennia the tombs are very impressive with all the great pictures at the walls which show us so much from life and belief of Old Egypt. Unfortunately fanatic iconoclasts have destroyed many faces of these paintings. This is not only a Muslim phenomenon. It happened often in Christian terrritories as well - think for example of the damages at the great facade of the church in Saint Gilles in the Provence...
We were extremely lucky that it was February and not hot but I can imagine that it is here terribly hot in Summer - at least outside the tombs.
- Historical Travel
Valley of the Kings
Hidden behind the barren desert cliffs of the west bank of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings was the burial place for many of Ancient Egypt's kings. Although some kings were buried here as early as 2100 BC, it was not until the 18th Dynasty around 1500 BC that the Valley of the Kings gained its importance. Successive Pharaohs, including the famous Tutankhamun and Ramses, built elaborate tombs cut through the rocks and filled them with countless treasures for the afterlife. The choice of this hidden and largely inaccessible valley was deliberate to prevent tomb theft, but it also lay in the shadow of the symbolic al-Qurn mountain, which naturally looks like a pyramid. Visiting a couple of tombs in the Valley of the Kings is a must for any visitor to Luxor. Hopefully you are not with a tour group, in which case you will need to ensure that your taxi wait for you to take you to the next site. Further details can be found on my separate page on the Necropolis of Thebes.
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