Valley of the Kings - Egypt
While everyone associates the Egyptian pyramids as the burial place of pharaohs, the reality is that most of them were buried in tombs cut into rock.
Divided in two parts, the East and the West Valleys, the Valley of the Kings plays host to the tombs of dozens of Pharaohs, often accompanied by the remains of their family members including wives and children. The Valley of the Kings is not just about pharaohs either; it is also a reminder of other nobility and people of high status in ancient Egyptian society.
To get to the Valley of the Kings, you will need to go to west side of the River Nile. This is within easy reach from Luxor, as the two are directly opposite one another. It is important to note, that although both valleys get a lot of visitors, the East Valley happens to get the lion’s share of the deal. This happens for one simple reason: it is the eastern side where most of the tombs of the royals and their families are found, the most famous of them all being the tomb of Tutankhamun.
As soon as you get to the Valley of the Kings, you will realize that the 63 tombs and chambers are not far apart from each other. The tombs are numbered using an abbreviation of KV (Kings’ Valley) followed by a number which is the order in which it was discovered. The last one, KV63 was discovered in 2005. In the west valley the tombs have the WV prefix.
Not all tombs are open
Even though the Valley of the Kings is open for visitors every day of the year, you should know that that not all of the tombs are accessible at any one time. In fact only 18 of the tombs are open to the public and of those some are closed due for maintenance purposes or sometimes just to regulate the flow of human traffic. If you want to visit a specific tomb then make sure in advance that it will in fact be open.
In the West valley there is only one tomb open (the AY tomb).
There are plenty of photo opportunities in the Valley of the Kings itself but note that photos are NOT permitted inside the tombs. However we have heard that some people have still managed to sneak some shots after a bribe or two for the guards. (Only do this at your own risk).
When to visit the Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings gets on average about 5000 visitors a day however this number can double on the days when Nile Cruise ships arrive. So basically, it is always busy.
Before starting your journey around the Valley of the Kings, be warned, that it is a hot place, even worse if you are visiting the tombs in summer when the temperatures are extremely high!
Due to the heat, it is recommended that you take a lot of bottled water with you into. If you do run out of water on the trip, don’t worry; there are selling points for water near the main entrance to the tombs, however they are at “tourist prices”, more expensive.
To be a little more comfortable and without intense heat chipping away at your energy, scheduling your trip for winter or spring would definitely be most ideal.
During winter and summer, visiting hours begin as early as six o'clock, and close at about five o'clock in the evening with tickets available in either Egyptian pound or US dollar.
What to wear
While dress code is a serious matter in the Arab world, especially in or close to places of worship, a little leeway is given to tourists. However it would be in good taste to cover your head with a hat or cap and ladies should be as covered as possible (wear loose light fabric).
A pair of glasses is a must to protect your eyes from the scorching sun (and so you don’t have to squint the entire time).
Due to the terrain bring comfortable working shoes.
Also remember to wear some sunscreen lotion to protect you from sunburn that can make the rest of your trip uncomfortable.
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