You’ll never forget the moment when you lay eyes on the Great Pyramids of Giza. The experience of seeing the last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World with your own eyes is a humbling moment. This post contains a list of the do’s and don’ts to make planning your trip to the pyramids a breeze!
I’m here to tell you that Egypt is safe to visit, and there’s no time better to experience this beautiful country than right now. If you’re getting ready to finally cross the Pyramids of Giza off your bucket list, consider these tips to make the most of your time during your visit.
GETTING TO THE PYRAMIDS
If you’re planning to visit the Pyramids on your own from Cairo without a structured tour, I would suggest an Uber over a cab to ensure a fixed price and a safe mode of transportation. Even though Giza is only 10 miles outside of Cairo, the roads can be very busy. Depending on when you’re traveling, you should budget between 30 minutes and 60 minutes. If you want to avoid the heat and the crowds, get there early when the doors open before the tour groups arrive around 10am. The site opens every day between 8 am and 5 am.
Cairo is a fascinating city with so much culture…don’t sip it! For five experiences that will make Cairo unforgettable checkout my blog post here.
GUIDE OR NO GUIDE?
It’s entirely up to you how you wish to experience the pyramids, but if you have a limited time frame, I would recommend hiring a guide to accompany you to pyramids. If you wish to explore on your own time please be cautious of locals who might be trying to sell you gifts, or press you for a camel, or horse ride.
Pros of Taking a Guide:
- Someone to take photos of you, or your group
- Air-conditioned vehicle for transportation
- Someone who is knowledgable about the history of the pyramids
- A guide would reduce the amount of people who would approach you to offer services (camel rides, souvenirs, horse rides)
Pros to exploring the pyramids without a Guide:
- No additional cost beyond the entrance tickets
- You’re on your own time and never rushed
- You don’t have to worry about any other tourists with you
PYRAMIDS ADMISSION PRICES
The cost of your visit depends what you want to do. Currently in 2018, the general admission is 120 EGP (Egyptian Pounds) per person, or under $7USD. If you want to go inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu this will cost you 300 EGP (or $17 USD). If you are a student, show them your ID to take advantage of their student discounts.
You won’t find any mummies inside, but crawling up and around the Great Pyramid of Khufu is still a unique experience if time allows. You have options to purchase tickets to visit the other two, but the Pyramid of Khufu will be the most interesting. If you suffer from claustrophobia, it’s best to sit this one out.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PYRAMIDS AND THE SPHNIX
There are around 138 pyramids in all of Egypt, but the most famous pyramid structures are the Pyramids of Giza.
The pyramids are now housing places for the tombs of the pharaohs who commissioned them, but historians and archeologists still are not entirely sure how they were built, exactly who built them, and for what reason.
The Pyramids were constructed around 200 B.C. The Pyramid of Khufu is the oldest and largest among the three pyramids standing around 455 feet as of today.
The Sphinx is made out of limestone and represents a lion’s body with a human head. It’s believed that the Sphinx’s face is that of pharaoh Khafra.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS WHILE VISITING THE PYRAMIDS
- Bring water and protect yourself from the sun! The Egyptian sun is incredibly strong, and you’re going to want to have plenty of water and be protected from intense sun exposure with sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, or all of the above! If you need a place to cool off and grab a quick bite, the Marriott Mena House is a short notice away with a nice restaurant (rather on the pricy side) or bar overlooking the pyramids.
- Dress Conservatively. Yes, it’s hot out. Please don’t forget that Egypt is a predominately Muslim country, and it’s still important for both women and men to dress conservatively. For women long lightweight cotton dresses, or pants below the knee are ideal, and a light shawl to go over your arms is not only respectful, but can be styled very well. For men, it’s not acceptable to wear shorts, so pants and a t-shirt is a standard option. Remember, you’re not here to change the culture, you’re here to experience a new one.
- Ride a camel and take photos! You’re in Egypt for goodness sake! Please don’t leave without enjoying a moment exploring the pyramids and taking photos to document the occasion.
Before you take a camel, horse, or carriage ride follow these three tips below:
- Be mindful to always negotiate a price before getting on a camel.
- Discuss where you’ll be going and how long you’ll be on the camel.
- Be sure to tip!
- Don’t climb on the pyramids. As the last Ancient Wonder of the World, we want to preserve it as much as we can so another 4500 years from now visitors can still have this experience.
- Don’t encourage the people trying to sell you things. Make it clear that you do not want to buy. When asked if you want to purchase anything they have to sell reply with a firm “La shukran”, or no thank you. As always, be very mindful of your backpacks, pockets, purses etc.
- Don’t be too friendly with people coming up to you and asking “Where are you from?”. The second you answer, they will continue to talk to you and give you advice, information and/or directions. They will expect a tip even after giving you information you did not want. However, at the same time, please don’t refuse totally to talk to Egyptians. They are incredibly kind and friendly people who are just trying to make a living and support their families.
MAKE IT MEMORABLE
Never forget during your visit to stop and cherish a moment! As the last Ancient Wonder of the World, visiting the Pyramids of Giza is nothing short of remarkable. Close your eyes and feel the desert wind blow through your hair and the Egyptian sun against your skin, and you’ll be feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Open your eyes and look up at the massive pyramid above you, and you can’t help but feeling an overwhelming sense of humility.
Have you been to the Great Pyramids of Giza? Do you have any other questions about visiting the pyramids that I didn’t cover? Comment below!