Before going to Egypt, I read a lot of different things about going to visit the Giza pyramids and many people expressed their disappointment. To me, visiting one of the Ancient Wonders of the World was incredible and I was prepared beforehand with what I could expect. Read on for information about visiting the pyramids and what it is actually like!
Location: The pyramids are located in Giza which is on the outskirts of Cairo. If you are coming from the airport, it is on the opposite side of the city and takes about 40 minutes to get to with Cairo traffic. I paid $20 to get from the airport to my hotel, which was right in front of the Sphinx.
Times: The pyramids are open from 9-5 according to most sites.
Costs: General entrance is 120 EGP (USD$6.70). I’ve seen many different prices listed online to go inside the 3 big pyramids. Basically it ranges from 100-360 for the biggest one and 25-100 for the smallest one. If anyone has any EXACT prices, let me know. I also read on one of Egypt’s tourism sites that the entrance was only 60EGP, but it is definitely 120 and says so on the actual ticket.
WHAT CAN YOU DO THERE?
See the Pyramids
There are 3 big pyramids and actually 3 small pyramids. The largest one is Khufu’s pyramid. The 2nd was build by Khafre and the 3rd by Menkaure. The 3 small pyramids are the Queen’s pyramids and were built for Khufu’s wives and sisters.
Go inside the pyramids
You can go inside each of the larger pyramids for an additional fee. I’ve heard that they all look the same inside and that it isn’t entirely fascinating other than saying you went inside a pyramid. I believe that going inside one of the smaller pyramids is included in your ticket.
See the Sphinx
Included in your ticket is going to see the Sphinx. There is a walkway that takes you right next to it to get that iconic Sphinx-kissing picture.
Go to the Solar Boat Museum
Step inside to see a boat that dates back to the pyramids. The solar boat that was found belonged to Khufu and is said to be the pharaoh’s transportation into the afterlife.
See the Sound and Light Show
The Sound and Light show starts at 7:30pm and lasts for an hour. It is listed as an optional excursion on many tours and was about $35 through my tour. Luckily I was able to watch it for free from the rooftop of my hotel and can say with confidence that it is absolutely not worth spending the money on. The audio is difficult to hear at times and it mostly just lights up a pyramid one at a time while you get some history. Even though it was free to watch at my hotel, I bailed after a half hour.
WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR?
Tourists tend to wear a range of things at the pyramids. You will find people dressed more conservatively and you will find people in cutoffs and crop tops. I tended to dress a little more conservatively throughout my trip just as a personal preference. You might get stares and some unwanted attention if you wear more revealing clothing, but wear what makes you comfortable. Our guide told us not to worry about a dress code, but most of our group chose to wear longer skirts or dresses.
SO WHAT’S IT REALLY LIKE?
The main complaint I’ve heard about visiting the pyramids is that people were really disappointed to find out that the city of Cairo is built up right next to them which completely squashes the idea that you have to cross the desert on camel to get to them.
The second part of that statement is usually “and there’s a Pizza Hut right across from the Sphinx”. In Pizza Hut’s defense, I had to actually look for a second before finding it. The name is in Arabic (if I recall correctly) and the only visible recognition is the little red hut. It’s not like there’s a bright red billboard with a massive slice of pizza staring at you from the Sphinx. None that I remembering seeing anyway haha. But seriously, when I saw it, it didn’t diminish the ambiance for me at all because I was prepared to see the city on the outskirts. The majority is still desert.
Yes, Cairo is built right next to the pyramids. This didn’t bother me because the other side of the pyramids is the desert. I actually found that having the city next to it made them that much more impressive. You can see the scale of them compared to modern day buildings and I found it really cool that you could see the pyramids while driving through the city.
Another complaint people had was getting harassed. It could have been because I was traveling in a group, but I did not experience any at all. Another girl and I walked off by ourselves for an hour and no one really bothered us. You will get asked for camel rides constantly though. Or camel pictures.
One thing that DID surprise me though was that there are roads between the pyramids. I did not expect there to be roads and sidewalks and even saw a truck drive past. I was surprised but it still didn’t kill the vibe for me.
CAN YOU CLIMB THE GIZA PYRAMIDS?
Yes and No. Technically, they do not want you to climb the pyramids in order to help preserve them. However, many people climb the bottom few just to take a picture. There are also many people offering to show you the best spots for pictures but they might ask for money afterwards. Though, I had a man point out the picture below and he never asked me for anything. My experience with the Egyptian people was very positive throughout my trip.
-There are many hotels right near the entrance to the Sphinx that have rooftop views of the pyramids. My hotel room was modest but the views were unbeatable from the rooftop. I highly recommend staying at one of these places for an amazing view while you eat. Plus, you can watch the Sound & Light show for free while you have dinner (which otherwise, I would not recommend paying for). I stayed at the Pyramids View Inn Bed and Breakfast (and my room looked nothing like the pictures but it was a place to sleep and I was really only in it for the view).
-I’ve seen a lot of pictures from the Marriott Mena House and it is apparently a nice place to relax for lunch or a snack that also has views of the pyramids too.
The pyramids are undoubtedly one of the main reasons people come to Egypt. As long as you know what to expect, you will not be let down. The pyramids are wonderful and amazing to see!