First Timers Guide for visiting Amazing Egypt Pyramids

Updated on 4 June 2022 – Egypt has been one of the nations that put the least Covid restrictions. Many full-time travellers could gallop to Egypt even during peak Covid time. So the Covid travel restrictions are minor for tourists visiting Egypt

“I don’t know anyone around here who would want to cross the desert just to see the pyramids,” said the merchant. “They are just a pile of stones. You could build one in your backyard” “You have never had dreams of travel”, said the boy.

The Alchemist, Paulo Cohelo

Suppose you think like that merchant; we are here to change your mind on what you think of the ancient wonder of the world. Many have asked, “What is so great about the dusty stones piled up”

Egypt’s pyramids are not “Just a pile of stones. “

Their precision, the Golden Ratio, Mummies, how they built these thousands of years ago – There is no answer for most of these even today.

Sphinx infront of Egypt's biggest pyramid with blue-reddish sky in the morning

You must listen to the stories/facts and experience the mystery. When you stand on that 2.5ton weighing stone of the Great Pyramid (weight of one single stone), you will wonder -“ how did they move and stack 2.3 million stones that weigh 2500kg each” The rising sun, sand storm, setting sun – each impact the Pyramid’s appearance. It invokes different questions every time the sky changes its colour. There are 100+pyramids in Egypt. unfortunately, only a few are open to visitors, and a few are almost in the rubble. 

So here is your ultimate guide to exploring Egypt Pyramids, covering all the necessary info and some fascinating Pharoahic stories.

Index

How many days do you need to visit Egypt’s Pyramid on a surface?

Smaller Pyramids at Giza Necropolis

Smaller Pyramids at Giza Necropolis

Keep a minimum of one whole day for the Pyramids. Don’t have any other plans other than immersing yourself in the mysterious stories of these mighty structures. A visit only to the Giza pyramids should be your last choice because other Egyptian pyramids are equally exciting as the Giza ones. Plus a huge crowd always arrives (rater attacks) at Giza Necropolis. So it is nice to sit by an ancient pyramid somewhere in Saqqara or Abusir to listen to the facts and tales as they are less crowded.

If you plan to go inside every Pyramid wherever allowed, you will need at least two to three days. As an architect and a history teacher, it is obvious that pyramids are interesting to me.

But as a techie, Ashrith found the Pyramids of Egypt as a bundle of Mysterious Stories

“Each pyramid had a different story to tell. Most of the tales end with a mystery. The story of how the Sphinx was built accidentally, how Pharaohs used to marry their own sisters, how one could reach the bottom of the pyramid with treasures in hand – These are things to be felt, not just heard. It is confusing yet fascinating. There is a lot of difference between watching the Mummy movie series to seeing the place in reality. The villain Imhotep in the movie is an architect of the step pyramid in reality! He was a renowned Physician. To top it, as a gamer – I wanted to live the life of Bayek of Assassin creed Origins.”

Indian traveller posing as getting kissed by the Sphinx on forhead at Giza Pyramid complex

The pyramids, with their unusual stories, are a treat to both minds and eyes. Why would someone think of a tremendously huge structure to be their tomb?? Why did ancient Egyptians celebrate death more than life? Is life after death true? Why did Pharaohs give so much importance to their graves that they built something as majestic as pyramids? Pyramids are “Food for thought” for everyone.

Just a thought: In 2019 October, archaeologists discovered 30 new mummies. Many tweeted saying that the curse of those mummies caused Covid in 2020 – I am not saying this, but many others said so.

Dos and Donts at Egypt Pyramids

Egypt Pyramids clear view in the morning and blurred view after the sandstorm

Giza Pyramids before and After the Sandstorm

Plan so that you have three to four days for Cairo+ Giza.

Keep your day’s plan flexible. If a sandstorm messes up your day, you still have the next days to visit the pyramids– The deserts are always mysterious. You never know when they plan to hide the pyramids under their storm. Fortunately, we had finished seeing in and out of major pyramids a day before the strong sandstorm hit the city. We saw many sad tourists standing and staring in one direction, searching the Giza Pyramids. The sandstorms were so horrible that they could hardly see a person 2m ahead of you. Visitors who had to leave to their next destination on their arrival to Giza had no sight of the great Pyramids.

Agree to disagree- Respect Egyptian’s beliefs though you believe in something else when it comes to Who built the Pyramids

Ruined Egypt Pyramid Unas at Saqqara

That is really a Pyramid in Egypt – Almost ruined. But inside is intact

The mystery of the Pyramids is still a mystery. Nobody knows the exact construction techniques. Some stories tell that Hebrew workers of Pharaohs built it. If Jews were involved, were they slaves or paid labours? Egyptians believe it wasn’t Jews but Egyptians who built it. Historians say that the Pharaohs never had slaves; Pharoah paid for the labours. Some even claim that aliens built it! An argument with Egyptians about this may get you into unwanted/heated, or hurtful conversations. If you are sure of your theories, it is better to prove those to an academy and not argue with local Egyptians.

Know your Claustrophobia before going inside a Pyramid in Egypt

Narrow downward passage Inside Egypt Pyramids

If you get panic in a dark+narrow+ airless chamber- rethink getting inside the Pyramid. I did not know I was claustrophobic until I struggled inside the Red Pyramid. A typical modern light lits the narrow passage enough to see the surroundings. Still, I was panicky and felt suffocated without proper ventilation. The Red Pyramid is smaller than the ones in Giza. You have to climb around 20m+ to get to the entrance and climb down to the chamber here. So if you are claustrophobic, choose smaller pyramids and not the Khufu pyramid(the biggest of all Pyramids – it is 147m tall. You need to climb at least 18m to get to the entrance and go further down almost 50+m!)

If you are backpacking, do hire a guide while visiting the Pyramids of Egypt.

Egyptian guide Ibrahim with fellow tourists in front of Saaqara Pyramid

We couldn’t have asked for a better guide companion than Ibrahim

The history is so amusing that you can’t feel the place without narration. Plus, they save you from nagging camel owners and sellers. Unfortunately, guides are not allowed inside the tombs and the pyramids. Instead, they explain everything and let you explore the tombs by yourself.

How to Travel between two different Egypt Pyramids

Egypt traffic on the street filled with unfibnished but fully occupied high rise apartment buildings

That is Giza-Cairo Road in the morning before the city was fully awake

From Giza to Saqqara, there is no direct public transport. It is better to hire a car with a driver for the day or take a taxi. Self-driving in Egypt is as challenging as driving in India.

Big groups are allowed inside a few Pyramids

Overcrowding at Giza Necropolis in Egypt

Hello (over) crowd -At Giza Pyramids

A large group day tour by bus might cost you lesser. But you might end up not experiencing every inch of the Pyramids. At Dashur, tourists in big groups were not allowed. Start your day as early as possible irrespective of the seasons. 

Summer afternoons are too harsh to be outside, and winters can get too windy and cold by 3 PM. Carry minimum things while entering a pyramid. You have to crawl and duck walk a lot inside the pyramids.

Don’t visit only the Pyramids of Giza

Comparison between Egypts Step Pyramid in reality to Assassin Creed Orgins

If you have played Assassins Creed Origins, you might have a better idea why it is engrossing to visit various Pyramids

When you finalise the trip with your taxi driver/tour organiser, be specific on what all pyramids you want to see. Otherwise, you end up seeing only the pyramids at Giza. Meidum and Bent pyramids were not open for tourists in January 2019, but they are open now. Archaeologists investigate these mysterious structures continuously. So every year, a new pyramid gets opened for visitors. Do your research before and let your organiser/guide know your preferences.

Accommodation near Egypt’s Pyramids

If you want the views of the Pyramids while in Cairo, choose the town of Giza. If you want a cosmopolitan Egyptian city, choose Cairo. Read our post “ A guide to choosing hotels in Egypt” to know more. I recommend a mid-range budget  Egypt Pyramid inn hotel at Giza.

View of three Egypts famous pyramids from a hotel terrace

From our Hotel Terrace at Giza

Respect local Egyptian tradition

All the Pyramids are picturesque. Even with average photography skills, you can be a super hit on Instagram( if that is your aim). Please don’t wear revealing clothes for a sexy picture to get more likes and shares! I know; it is our body and our rules. But the last thing you can do as a tourist is to respect local tradition. And the last thing you want as a tourist is to get unwanted attention from locals.
I’ve told this in many other posts too. Egyptians are conservative, and it is disrespectful to get naked/ semi-naked in front of something they respect immensely. Surely, you are going to get troubled.

List of Pyramids around Giza & Cairo

This was our initial plan – To do this, we had to have two full days. We chose to leave Abusir and Meidum and decided to have one whole day exclusively for the pyramids.

  • Memphis – Capital of ancient Egypt- Nothing much to see here, but a nice place to get introduced to Egypt’s history
  • Dashur -The Red Pyramid + Bent Pyramid are located here. It is less crowded than Giza.
  • Saqqarah: Home to the oldest Pyramid of Egypt- a five-tiered Stepped pyramid. Al ng with palace ruins and ancient burials called Mastabas, Saqqarah is like an ocean of treasure buried under sand waiting to be discovered., This is not as touristy as Giza but more than Red Pyramids. If the sky is clear and no fog, you can see the Giza pyramids from here.
  • Giza – One and only ancient wonder standing still with the biggest Pyramid of 147m in height. Al ng with this, there is the most famous “Sphinx” and other smaller pyramids too.

Bent Pyramid Opened to tourists in July 2019. It wasn’t open for visitors when we went in January 2019

If you wonder what is so great about visiting so many pyramids – You must read our post Fascinating stories of Egypt Pyramids” Trust me, you will learn from our mistake and you will keep two full days to add Abusir and Meidum Pyramids too

What do you think of Pyramids? A pile of dirt or storytellers? Let us know in the comment section below

Published by Sahana Kulur

Traveller | Blogger | Architecture and history

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