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Valley of the Kings, Luxor

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Things to be Aware of in the Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is a very worthwhile tourist destination. There are several things to be aware of, however, which will make your journey much more pleasant.

First: Bring your own water, as the valley is hot and dusty, and the bottled water inside the compound is much too expensive!

Second: Wear a hat to help block the sun. You won't constantly have to remove your sunglasses each time you enter the tomb, but you will still be protected. It's much easier to enjoy yourself if you don't have to worry about sunstroke!

Third: Bring a small headlamp or torch of your own. Most of the tombs will have a 'guard' stationed in the inner chambers who will offer to shine his flashlight on various important hieroglyphs and into the sarcophagi for you, but this will inevitably cost you baksheesh. If you have your own torch, you can avoid this unnecessary expense.

Fourth: While you are technically not allowed to take pictures inside the tombs, most of the 'guards' in the inner rooms will, for a small fee, allow you to take pictures as long as no one else is in the chamber. Every traveler must decide the ethics of this question for herself, but I found that the preservation of this magnificent work on the walls was much more important to me than my own photographic memories. If you choose not to take pictures, as I did, there are plenty of postcards you can purchase on the way out of the compound which depict the inner rooms of various tombs. [more ]

Tomb of Ramses I

This tomb is centrally located and is the easiest tomb to access. The descent is very short and wide, and not at all steep, and perhaps for this reason it is very popular. The tomb itself is historically significant because, of course, it belonged to the founder of a great dynasty. The decoration and the layout of the tomb is simple, however, perhaps because Ramses' reign was so short. There are some historically significant hieroglyphs, and the huge pink granite sarcophagus is very impressive. Otherwise, however, this was the least impressive tomb of the three we visited in the valley. [more ]

Tomb of Mernepthah

The tomb of Mernepthah in the Valley of the Kings is slightly off to one side, and perhaps for this reason it's not as crowded as some of the other central tombs. There are several chambers in this tomb, and it is notable for the clarity and beauty of its wall carving and hieroglyphs. I was especially impressed by the ceiling in the last corridor, which is blue and covered with gold stars. The descent to the burial chamber proper is long, but there is a lot to see along the way. We unfortunately had very little knowledge of the significance of the hieroglyphs and were only able to admire the technical skill and the colours, but we passed many students on the way down who were intent on studying the hieroglyphs and taking copious notes. As far as decoration goes, this was definitely our favourite tomb in the valley. [more ]

Tomb of Tuthmosis III

This tomb is in the far corner of the valley, well away from the largest groups of tourists, hidden in a niche between two tall cliffs. In order to reach it, you have to climb several ladders and cross one very rickety bridge. If, like me, you're afraid of heights, the one thing going through your head at this moment is, 'This had better be worth it!' No doubt about it, it is.

The tomb itself requires you to climb and climb, and then go down and down and down. Its comparative remoteness adds to the mystery surrounding this place. The interior of the tomb, like most of the others, is cool and refreshing after the outside heat. This is one of the earliest tombs in the valley, and its artwork is not as spectacular as you will see in other tombs, but its atmosphere is amazing. The pharaoh's sarcophagus is still in the main room, although the mummy is gone. If you're up to the climb, this is one tomb that should not be missed. [more ]

Awe-Inspiring Valley of the Kings

We only had a few days in Egypt, and we weren't sure that a trip to Luxor was worth the time and money it would take to get there. We finally decided that we'd done enough in Cairo, and headed down to Luxor. We never regretted it. The Valley of the Kings was one of the best parts of our trip to Egypt!

We bought tickets for entry into three tombs, which is only 35 Egyptian pounds for students, and we chose the tombs of Ramses, Mernepthah, and Tuthmosis III. We had heard from a reliable source that Tutankamen's tomb was not worth the extra money, that it was not particularly impressive than others, just more expensive because it was more famous. We certainly didn't feel we missed out by not seeing it, and we avoided the biggest crowds by avoiding that particular tomb.

We also avoided some of the crowds and the heat by arriving before 9am. It took us about 3 hours to see three tombs and to wander around the valley a bit, climbing up to the top of one of the hills to get a good view and some good pictures. Once you're up high and away from the crowds, the mysterious atmosphere of the place is easier to feel, and you begin to appreciate just what a unique site this is.

Be sure to take a bottle of water with you! Once you're inside the complex, the price goes way up. Take a good hat, too, to block the sun.

So if you get to Luxor, don't be deterred by the crowds. This is one tourist attraction that definitely lives up to its reputation! [more ]

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Top Photos Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings Luxor Valley of the Kings II Getting up to the Tomb of Tuthmosis III View from the top of the Ladder at Tuthmosis III Tomb In the Welcome Shade of the Cliffs at Tuthmosis III Tomb
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1. Iberotel 8.54 mi
See all Hotels in Luxor


1. Tombs of the Nobles 1.88 mi
2. Ramesseum 2.36 mi
3. Antiquities Office/Ticket Office for the West Bank 2.84 mi
See all Attractions in Luxor


1. Ramasseum Rest House 2.34 mi
2. Tut Ank Ahmen (Tutankamen) 7.44 mi
See all Restaurants in Luxor
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