Egypt day 5: Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is where the tombs of the Pharaohs of Egypt’s Old Kingdom. The tombs date back from 1539-1075 BC, housing pharaohs like Seti I, Ramses II, Tutakhamun and even elites such as queens and high priests.

Photos are not permitted inside the tombs, so here’s the few photos I could take.

Your admission ticket allowed us into 3 tombs, and for an extra fee you could see King Tut’s tomb, and Ramses VI  tomb.  The King Tut’s tomb is a 2 chamber tomb, and to the left is King Tut himself.  To the right is the chamber with some decorative art work on the wall.  The chamber itself isn’t that impressive (as you’ll see better ones in other tombs) but it’s a chance to see the actual King himself.

King Ramses VI tomb is more grand, and has a longer walkway.  If you are into the history of the Kings, it is worth paying extra.  If you just want to see any of the Kings tombs, the general ticket is sufficient.

What to expect

The Valley of the Kings is an open area, with very little shade. Bring water, and maybe even a towel to wipe your sweaty face.  I brought my mini backpack and thankfully had my towel, water, and even my wet wipes.

Tour guides are not allowed to go into the tombs with you, and stay behind in a covered area (the area where you will probably congregate before going to the tombs).

There are some tombs are harder to climb than others.  Some tombs you will be walking up long flights of stairs. One tomb we chose was about 4 stories worth of narrow stairs going up, then when you get to the ticket keeper, you enter the tomb and go the same amount of narrow stairs (some are not actual steps but floor board) going down.

There’s little air below, and remember if you went down, that means you get to come back up.  Many tourists were out of breath as they resurfaced. You’re not supposed to take photos inside, but I had to take a photo of the stairs to emphasize how narrow and low the stairs were.


Tipping the tomb personnel

While downstairs, we were pretty much the only ones down in the tomb.  If you are caught alone by the “security” personnel, they may try to be helpful and “show” you the tomb with the flashlight or point out key features of the tombs.  Be aware that’s their hint they would like a few bucks for tip. Sure, that was worth a bu ck or 2.

Well, we found out that we were probably too generous in the first tomb when we gave $2 for showing us a sarcophagus, and the next thing we knew, they separated me and Stephen.  They offered to each of “one minute” to take a few photos (AND if you were willing to keep quiet) but also for a “hefty” tip. They kept gesturing “tip” money with their fingers,  I felt uneasy, and they started to get belligerent, so I quickly walk away.   A good way to deter them is to yell to your partner “Hey, lets go” and make some noise.