If you are a history buff or you find “traveling back in time” fascinating and educational, you may have grown with a bucket list of places to visit lifted from the wonders of the ancient world. Egypt has about 80 (some say it’s over a hundred) of them with the Pyramids of Giza being on the top of the list. If you are feeling lucky you can still “travel in time” when you decide to pay homage to these ancient structures, go and visit these pyramids.
There are many stories to tell as well as lessons to learn. Here are some of the most important things to know before going on an Egyptian tour of the mighty pyramids.
- What are “pyramids”: The pyramids were built by human hands as tombs for the pharaohs, their queens and families. The shapes and sizes greatly vary before the beginning of the Old Kingdom to the end of the Middle Kingdom.
- The Great Pyramid: The largest and the most important one was built for the Pharaoh Khufu at the beginning of the Old Kingdom. There were two others – that are just as well-preserved; all of these are found in Giza.
- How to best tour the pyramids: There are numerous options available for tourists wanting to see the different pyramids and Egypt, in general. You must decide based on the amount of time you’ll be around or want spent on touring. The famous ones favored by most first-time or classical tourists are the so-called “antiquity tours.” These may extend between 5 and 14 days.
- Why join group tours: With about a hundred pyramids in Egypt, you stand to have a problem deciding where to go, if you are on your own. This is why a great deal of first-time visitors prefer to join travel tours.
- Know which pyramids to see: If you are a seasoned traveler and confident you’ll enjoy better on your own, do your research. You can’t possibly see everything, and most are repetitive anyway. To save time and still see the best pyramids, it is highly recommended that you visit Saqqara/Sakkara (The Step Pyramid of Djoser), Dahshur (The Bent Pyramid and The Red, or North Pyramid), and certainly the Giza Plateau (The Great Pyramid).
The Giza Tour
- Visiting the “wonder”: The Great Pyramids at Giza are the most important pyramids considered as world “wonders.” They are, undoubtedly, the icons that symbolize Egypt. For over three thousand years, these pyramids stood as Egypt’s main attractions for the entire world to see being a source of inspired thought.
- Everything ends in Giza: Giza Plateau is the most important place to visit in Egypt for its pyramids. Thus, most tours will have it in their itinerary, but it still pays to ask your tour operator.
- Your Ticket to enter the Great Pyramid: To preserve the three important pyramids in Giza, the number of visitors allowed to enter is limited. Ask your tour operator before booking; most often the tour will not include a ticket, but they may if going there earlier. If they don’t, you must get your own. Arrange or clarify it with your tour operator.
- How much time to spend in Giza. The amount of time is never the same; a balance has to be struck between the length of the tour and the itinerary. Short tours may not give you much time to enter any of the important pyramids at the Giza Plateau. Longer tours can not only accommodate Giza Plateau, but also a tour of the Step Pyramid (Djoser) and Saqqara/Sakkara. This is one of the important things to discuss with your travel operator.
Other Things to Do in Egypt
Once you get to Egypt, the pyramids will lure you, but that doesn’t mean looking back in time is the only thing you can do here.
- The Nile Cruise: See more of Cairo and Egypt’s illuminated vista from the River Nile. Watch the sunset and relish your elegant dinner on aboard the Nile Maxim, and enjoy the after-dinner belly-dancing spectacle.
- Night, Music and the Pyramids: A truly extraordinary evening of music Cairo with the floodlit pyramids for a backdrop is a once-in-a-lifetime, “memorable” experience. With laser and light projections, the illusion is mysterious and dramatic.
- An intimate experience of Cairo: If slow or responsible travel is your thing, enjoy Cairo on foot or on a bike. There are walking and biking tours that will take you around Zamalek Island and Cairo’s historical backstreets, historical bridges, paths and buildings. End the walking or biking tour with a rewarding, sumptuous and authentic Egyptian dinner of koshari (a jumble of rice, lentils, pasta, lentils, fried onions with chili sauce) and falafel (fried chickpea balls) and cap it with Egyptian ice cream for dessert.
There is no question about the mystery of the pyramids in Egypt. which you are motivated to explore. Aside from its pyramids, Cairo has so much more to offer its visitors – local history and culture. So, once here, shift gears, discover Cairo – walk or bike, shop, eat and have fun in its nightlife.