I agree with comments above.
At the end of March, already hot, saw three including Ramses 9 and Tuthmosis III (which was up stairs and down stairs, quite low in places but v good). You could pay extra for King Tut but it is empty. We chose to pay extra for Ramses VI which was excellent, very well preserved, lots of paintings to see and no crowds because of extra price. Think we were in Valley of Kings for about 3 hrs.
Hatshepsut's temple is nearby and we were there less than one hr. Colossi of Memnon is just a 5 minute stop, you can see them from the car park.
Did another trip to West Bank and visited the Ramsseum, hardly anyone there, then Habu Temple - excellent.
The valley of the kings is a great place to visit early in the day if possible.
You are unfortunatly NOT allowed to take camera's in to the site at all.
Withe the basic ticket you can visit 3 tombs. Tutenkarmens tomb is 100EL more and not really worth that, its apparently tiny.
The art work you see in the tombs is amazing, some have retained their colour more than others.
Look out for balloon ride offers in June 2008, we paid £30 each for a sunrise trip, I know that sounds hard to believe but that was offered to us by our local tour rep.......we didn,t even have to barter at that price...........wow....sod the euro get to Egypt.
(PLEASE NOTE: Since this review I do not think you will see this value again, 2009 onwards,since a small accident required a review of all balloon operators and their training, you might say that prices have ballooned!!), apologies pardon the pun.
This is where I got arrested by the tourist police!
The third and final tomb that Anne and I visited was the tomb of Thutmoses III. We were told to visit this tomb last as it is the most impressive tomb in all of the Valley of the Kings!
Well, let me tell you, this tomb is the most amazing place that I have seen! The tunnel is very steep, and the walk out is very arduous, but it is well worth every bit of effort.
The hieroglyphics were truly spectacular and the variety was magnificent. The biggest surprise was right at the very end of the tunnel, a very large and impressive granite sarcophagus was located in the burial chamber. The burial chamber was adorned with murals showing the boat that would take the Pharaoh across the night sky and slaves tending to the Pharaoh.
As there was only a few people around I decided to take a photo. As I did, a guard appeared out of the shadows and grabbed my camera! He radioed for the tourist police and I was arrested for taking photos in the tomb.
After I was escorted from the tomb I was taken to the “Police Office” where other tourists were in a state of panic or distress as they had been arrested for the same thing…in the same tomb! The trick is, they allow you to bribe the guards and then they take your camera. They then attempt to get a bribe of 50 Egyptian Pound per photo or they will take your camera and send you to court! Most people pay, I argued for over an hour and it cost me 75 Egyptian Pound to get off…a huge saving as I had 35 photos inside the tombs!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.