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Planning your visit to Valley of the Kings in Luxor?

Here are my travel-tested tips for making the most of your first visit to Valley of the Kings! Find out which tombs are open. Read about the best and the most famous tombs to visit. Learn about how to buy the tickets, save time, avoid lines.

Here is everything you need to know to make your visit to the Valley of the Kings efficient and memorable!

Also, if you are planning a trip to Luxor, then make sure to check out my post: Perfect 2-Day Itinerary in Luxor.

NUMBER 1

What is Valley of the Kings and Who Was Buried in the Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is a valley nestled on the west bank of the River Nile in Luxor.

For a period of nearly 500 years, from the 16th to the 11th century BC, known as the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, the Valley of the Kings was the burial ground for pharaohs such as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties.

Entrance to Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is a valley nestled on the west bank of the River Nile at Luxor.

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

In 1979 Valley of the Kings became a World Heritage Site.

There are some 65 magnificent royal tombs, that have been discovered so far.

Nowadays, their contents are gone. However, you can still see the amazing wall and ceiling decorations with religious images and texts from the netherworld books, designed to guide the pharaohs in their journey to the afterlife.

The tombs in the Valley of the Kings were carved out as long shafts. The shafts led deep into the ground and ended in intricate burial chambers filled with variety of items.

The Ancient Egyptian religion was focused on the belief in immortality and the lifelong preparation for the afterlife.

The construction of the tomb was started almost immediately right after the Pharaoh was chosen. It continued during his entire life.

Valley of the Kings tombs were filled with numerous valuable objects. For example, when the tomb of Tutankhamen’s was opened in 1922, it was the first tomb to be found almost intact, it contained 5,398 artifacts.

The tomb robbing must have been recognized early on in Ancient Egypt. As a result the burial chambers were located in more isolated places, as well as becoming more elaborate.

NUMBER 2

Where Is the Valley of the Kings and How to Get to Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is located on the west bank of the Nile River near Luxor. Here are some options on how to get form Luxor to Valley of the Kings:

  • With the Private Guide and Driver 

Honestly, having a driver and a tour guide is the best option of visiting the Valley of the Kings. This option gives you the total flexibility. You can decide how many tombs you are going to visit and which ones you might select.

By the way, the guides are not allowed inside the tombs. But, it is not the problem. My guide spent time with me before I entered each tomb. He highlighted the important facts about each of the Pharaohs and pointed what to pay attention to. In addition, he had pictures of the inside areas of the tombs, so it made it easier for me to remember what I should pay close attention to once I entered the tomb.

Now, if you are staying in one of the hotels in Luxor, your hotel will be more than happy to arrange for you a driver and a guide. Needless to say, this is an expensive option, but it is all worth it.

  • On a Tour

You can ask your hotel for a bus tours that stops at all major attractions in Luxor. It is probably one of the least expensive options. But, it does not give you much flexibility.

  • By Taxi

Another option is to just book a taxi and head to the Valley of the Kings. You will always be able to hire a guide right at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.

NUMBER 3

How Many Tombs are in the Valley of the Kings and Which Tombs are Open to Visitors

Even though 65 tombs have been excavated so far, only 11 or so are open to the public. In addition, it might be even less than that in order to lessen the effects of tourism. The list is constantly changing.

However, here is an updated and confirmed (by my tour guide) list of 11 open tombs:

  1. Ramses VII – Tomb KV1
  2. Ramses IV – Tomb KV2
  3. Ramses IX – Tomb KV6
  4. Ramses V and Ramses VI – Tomb KV 9
  5. Merenptah – Tomb KV8
  6. Ramses III – Tomb KV11
  7. Tausert-Setnakht – Tomb KV14
  8. Seti II – Tomb KV15
  9. Seti I – Tomb KV17
  10. Siptah – KV47
  11. Tutankhamen – KV62

NUMBER 4

Where Are the Open Tombs Located in Valley of the kings

The Valley of the Kings is divided into two main branches: the more famous East Valley and the West Valley.

To the south, towering over the valley, is a peak shaped like a pyramid, known as el-Qurn (the horn).

Following is a map of the Valley of the Kings. The tombs that are open are circled in red.

Map of the Valley of the Kings

Map of Valley of the Kings. Open tombs are circled in red.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

All the tombs are within an easy and walk-able distance from each other. The area is well signed. You will have no problem locating the tombs.

Just hold on to the map and follow the signs!

Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings is well signed and you will have no problem locating the signs.

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

Make sure to read the signs located at the entrance to each tomb.

Each sign has a lot of useful information about when the tomb was built, when it was discovered, why it is significant, and especially, what to look for as far as the decorations inside the tomb.

Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings

Make sure to read the signs at the entrance to each tomb. They have a lot of useful information.

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

I want to encourage you to walk around, soak it all in, capture some great photos and explore the area. Don’t just focus on going from tomb to tomb, wonder around. Check out the entire area.

Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings

Explore the area around Valley of the Kings.

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

NUMBER 5

How Long Does It Take to Visit Valley of the Kings

How long does it take to visit the Valley of the Kings? It all depends how many and what tombs you are planning to explore.

On average, it takes 1-2 hours to see one tomb.

If you decide to stick to the three tombs included in the general admission ticket, then roughly it would take you about 3 hours and you will be done.

Also, factor in the crowds that arrive as a part of a large tours and swarm the area. Usually, long times form outside the tombs and it gets packed, hot and humid inside.

My recommendation is to take your time.

There is a lot of excavation going on in the area. It is interesting to just stop by and observe the process. There is a lot of research going on inside the tombs. as well, so it is simply exhilarating to check out what is happening inside the tombs.

Excavations in Valley of the Kings

The excavation happening in Valley of the Kings.

Research and exploration happening inside the tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Research and exploration happening inside one of the tombs in Valley of the Kings.

NUMBER 6

How Much Does It Cost to Visit Valley of the Kings

You can purchase the entrance tickets at the Visitor Center.

First of all, the general ticket costs 240 EGP (Egyptian Pounds) per person. It covers the entrance to three of the following tombs:

  1. Ramses VII – Tomb KV1
  2. Ramses IV – Tomb KV2
  3. Ramses IX – Tomb KV6
  4. Merenptah – Tomb KV8
  5. Ramses III – Tomb KV11
  6. Tausert-Setnakht – Tomb KV14
  7. Seti II – Tomb KV15
  8. Siptah – KV47

Second, you can purchase extra tickets. Here is the list of the tombs that you need an extra ticket to enter and prices:

  1. Ramses V and Ramses VI – Tomb KV 9 – 100 EGP
  2. Seti I – Tomb KV17 – 1,000 EGP
  3. Tutankhamen – KV62 – 300 EGP

Now, what ticket should you buy to see the tombs in the Valley of the Kings? 

It all depends how much time you have devoted to exploring the Valley of the Kings.

The majority of the tourists buy the general ticket and tour three tombs.

NUMBER 7

Which Tombs Should You Visit Valley of the Kings

Out of the 11 tombs that are open to the public, I visited 9.

I purchased 2 general entry tickets, which gave me access to 6 tombs.

I relied on my tour guide recommendations, and ended up visiting following tombs:

  1. Ramses VII – Tomb KV1
  2. Ramses IV – Tomb KV2
  3. Ramses IX – Tomb KV6
  4. Merenptah – Tomb KV8
  5. Ramses III – Tomb KV11
  6. Tausert-Setnakht – Tomb KV14
  7. Seti II – Tomb KV15
  8. Siptah – KV47

In addition, I visited 3 extra tickets, which gave me an access to:

  1. Ramses V and Ramses VI – Tomb KV 9
  2. Seti I – Tomb KV17
  3. Tutankhamen – KV62

Find out which ones where my absolute favorites!! Check out the pictures! Read my post: 7 Best Tombs in Valley of the Kings

NUMBER 8

Can You Take Pictures Inside the Tombs in Valley of the Kings

During my visit to the Valley of the Kings, photography was allowed inside all 9 tombs that I visited. However, it only applied to cellphones.

Need to know

If you want to bring your camera along, then you will have to purchase a photo pass. The photo pass costs 300 EGP and covers one device. It can be used in all the tombs except for the tomb of Seti I and Tutankhamen.

As I mentioned earlier, the rules are constantly changing, so be prepared for any kind of opportunity. Make sure to have your cell phone, and pack your camera as well.

NUMBER 9

What Is the Most Famous Tomb in Valley of the Kings

Hands down, the most famous tomb in the Valley of the kings is the tomb of Tutankhamun (King Tut) – KV62.

However, in my opinion, it is not the most glamorous tomb. Nonetheless, it is definitely the most visited tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Did you know that King Tut’s tomb remained undiscovered for centuries. It was mostly due to the fact that there are basically no records mentioning King Tut after his death.

In addition, the entrance to his tomb was covered by layers of debris mostly from tombs constructed after King Tut’s burial.

On November 4, 1922, British Egyptologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of King Tut in the Valley of the Kings. It took Carter eight years to remove and catalog everything contained within the tomb.

If you decide to explore King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings, keep in mind that the treasures found in King Tut’s tomb were transported to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo.

Nowadays, you will be able to see beautifully decorated walls and ceilings depicting King Tut’s life and death. Moreover, you can view an exquisite quartzite sarcophagus.

Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings

King Tut’s tomb in Valley of the Kings 

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings

King Tut’s mummified body in his tomb in Valley of the Kings

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

NUMBER 10

What Is the Best Tomb to Visit in Valley of the Kings

The tomb of King Seti I – KV17 is unquestionably the most spectacular of all the tombs found in the Valley of the Kings.

First of all, it is the longest tomb in the Valley of the Kings at 450 feet. Next, it is the deepest of all the tombs at more than 200 feet. Moreover, it is composed of 11 chambers.

But, above all, each wall of every chamber and passage is beautifully decorated with exquisite reliefs.

Tomb of King Seti I

Tomb of Seti I is definitely the most exquisite tomb in Valley of the Kings

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

The reliefs feature extremely detailed figures and they will remind you of the style of the Old Kingdom.

Tomb of King Seti I

Tomb of Seti I in Valley of the Kings

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

NUMBER 11

What Are the Opening Hours of Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is open daily from 6 am till 4 pm (winter) and 5 pm (summer).

NUMBER 12

What Is the Best Time to Visit Valley of the Kings

First of all, without any doubt, plan your visit to the Valley of the Kings as early in the day as possible.

If you manage to get to the Valley of the Kings by at least 8 am, you will be in good shape. You will practically have the place all to yourself and be able to get some great pictures of the tombs without any tourists in them.

It starts to get very crowded by about 10 am.

Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings

Make sure to get to Valley of the Kings by at least 8 am to avoid crowds.

Visit to Valley of the Kings 

Here’s the deal

Next, once you get to the Valley of the Kings, start with the tombs that are included in the general ticket. These tombs are the most popular and get jam packed.

Finally, save the visit to the tombs with an extra ticket for last. Because of the extra cost, these tombs do not get as many visitors.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings

That is quite a list of tips for first visit to Valley of the Kings in Luxor, right?

No problem! Here are my absolute 3 things that you should know before visit to Valley of the Kings:

  • Keep it simple and buy a general ticket and visit 3 tombs in Valley of the Kings. Read my post and decide which 3 tombs in the Valley of the Kings you should visit.
  • Arrive early to avoid crowds. It gets very crowded and congested inside the narrow passages inside the tombs. Keep in mind that there is practically no ventilation and it gets humid and hot.
  • If you can splurge, then, hands down, visit the tomb of King Seti I – KV17. It is simply breathtaking!
  • Finally, if you are looking for more ideas then check out some of my posts about Luxor:

5 Best Day Trips from Luxor You Do Not Want to Miss (with Maps and Photos)

18 Unmissable Things to See and Do in Luxor (for Every Budget!)

Luxor Temple – 11 Unmissable Things to See

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Tips for First Visit to Valley of the Kings
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