7 Tips for Visiting the Valley of the Kings (Ancient Egypt)

Heading to explore ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings? Below are some useful tips you’ll want to know before you go.

I visited Luxor to see the Valley of the Kings. However, when I arrived, I realized just how confusing it was to plan a trip. I didn’t know how to get to the valley or which tombs to visit.

So, after exploring the area and ticking off this incredible Ancient Egypt bucket list landmark, I’ve written down some tips you’ll want to know before visiting the Valley of the Kings!

About the Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most remarkable necropolises in Egypt. Located beneath the ancient Theban Hills just outside of modern Luxor, this barren valley was chosen as the sacred burial ground during the New Kingdom of dynastic Egypt (1539-1075 BCE).

The ancients selected this site as it sits beneath the peak al-Qurn, (dehent), a natural pyramid mountain dominating the landscape.

Pyramid mountain above the valley of the kingsPyramid mountain above the valley of the kings
Pyramid Mountain above the Valley

Tourists have marveled at this iconic location since even Roman times. In fact, in some tombs, you’ll find instances of Latin and Greek graffiti, some dating back as far as 278 BCE!

While the high priests buried the pharaohs with all of their greatest treasures, little remained for modern archeologists to discover. This is because grave robbers have cleared out most of the Valley of the Kings’ tombs since ancient times. One famous exception is Howard Carter’s celebrated 1922 discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun, whose tomb had remained untouched for millennia.

Today, Egyptologists and local authorities maintain preservation with guarded entrances and a network of security cameras.

Tips For Visiting Ancient Egypt’s Valley of the Kings

1. You Can Only Visit Three Tombs With the Standard Entrance Ticket

While it’s changing all the time, the current entrance fee to access the Valley of the Kings tombs is 600 EGP per person, plus 20 EGP for the “tram” that you’ll take from the entrance.

This includes access to 3 tombs. However, there are currently 4 tombs, including Tutankhamun’s, that cost extra and are not included in the standard ticket.

This means you can effectively visit up to 7 tombs out of 14 currently open if you are willing to spend the cash.

You’ll find a full list of currently open tombs with prices in my guide to the best Valley of the Kings tombs to visit.

2. There Are Several Ways to Get to the Valley

Reaching the Valley of the Kings from Luxor involves a few options.

If you appreciate the convenience and depth of knowledge that a guided tour provides, I highly recommend booking with a reputable tour operator. During my trip, I had a fantastic experience with TravelTalk Tours, which included a visit to the Valley of the Kings paired with a hot air balloon ride over Luxor.

Alternatively, if you prefer to explore independently, taxis are available to take you directly to the valley. The journey typically lasts about 45 minutes and costs between 200-300 Egyptian pounds.

Tip: To save money on transport, consider taking a ferry across the Nile for just 5 EGP, landing you closer to the valley on the West Bank, which reduces the travel distance. If you go this route, it’s a good idea to negotiate a return trip with your taxi driver in advance, or even consider hiring the taxi for the full day to avoid the hassle of finding a ride back.

Electric bus at the valley of the kingsElectric bus at the valley of the kingsElectric bus at the valley of the kings
Once you arrive, you’ll get a tram to access the valley, which costs 20 EGP per person.

3. There are Actually Two Valleys Here

The wadi (valley) is broken up into two sections, the East Valley and the West Valley. However, all but one tomb is located in the East Valley, which is designated as the Valley of the Kings. The West Valley contains the tomb of Amenhotep III (WV22) and is known as the Valley of the Monkeys.

The Valley of the Queens is a separate valley where high priests buried the wives of the Pharaohs and is located approximately 15 kilometers away.

4. Tour Guides Cannot Lecture Inside the Tombs

To avoid congestion and to keep the silence, tour guides are not allowed to lecture inside the tombs.

Therefore, if you book a tour, you will likely be explained everything either outside the tomb entrance or at the nearby rest area. Then, you’ll be free to explore the tombs at your own pace.

I recommend planning in advance and having an idea of which tombs you’d like to see.

5. Single File Please

Being one of the most significant places in Egypt, you can expect the necropolis to become crowded. While in the tombs, it’s best to walk in a single-file line.

This also helps everyone see the walls and paintings more clearly.

Tip: The Valley of the Kings opens at around 6 AM. If you can help it, I highly recommend getting there early to beat the crowds (and the heat)!

6. It can get Very Hot!

The desert climate often results in blistering temperatures. Be prepared for very hot conditions at almost any time of the year when walking between the tombs

The rock-cut tombs themselves are usually a lot cooler since many lead far beneath the surface. So, if you can help it, get inside the tombs and spend the time down there, that’s why you’re here right?

7. Expect to Spend a Lot of Time in the Valley

While it’s possible to rush through the tombs, expect to take between 1-2 hours to really explore each one. At least for me, this was a huge bucket list item and I was in absolute awe at how well these ancient Egyptian tombs were preserved.

In my opinion, if you’re planning on visiting three tombs plus the tombs with an additional fee, then you’ll want to dedicate at least 5-6 hours to the pursuit.

Looking for more Egypt travel inspiration? I traveled all over the country and have written many useful guides to help you plan your visit. Take a pick from my other Egypt travel guides below!