Complete Guide To Visiting The Pyramids Of Giza
Visiting the Pyramids
Visiting the ancient Pyramids of Giza is a bucket list experience for sure. For most of us it is shrouded in mystery and ancient wonder and somewhere you would have wanted to go to since childhood. To me it always felt like this crazy magical far off place and I wasn’t sure that I would be lucky enough to ever see it.
I got the opportunity to visit Egypt and the Pyramids was the first place we went to on our trip. From researching beforehand I knew that it wasn’t going to be like going to some other tourist sights around the world. We had to be prepared but I also wanted to go with the flow. Here are some things you need to know before visiting the Pyramids of Giza.
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Visiting The Pyramids
When to go
My best advice is always to go early and that is what we stuck to when we headed to the Pyramids ( we also went twice ) They Pyramids open twice per day. First in the morning from 8am till 4pm. Apparently if you go in the afternoon it is also quieter but we weren’t able to fit that into our schedule so mornings it was. It took about 20 minutes to get from Gizira Island in Cairo to the Pyramids in Giza.
We bought our tickets at about 7:40 and we were inside the area at about 7:50 so they do let people inside earlier if you get there. It was just us and a handful of other tourists at this point.
Unfortunately the first morning it was so foggy that we could hardly see the pyramids and the wind also made it cold and unpleasant. This obviously wont be a problem in Summer but if you go early in Winter wear something warm!
How much does it cost
Entry into the Giza Complex is a fee by itself and then there are extra costs to go inside the pyramids. ( Prices as of January 2020 )
Adult – 200 EGP
Student – 100 EGP
It also costs 20 EGP to take your tripod inside ( they call it a camera stand ) so remember to budget for that. Charging for photos, video, cameras, tripods etc is common practice at most of the sights we visited in Egypt. Each one had their own rules though so be careful!
How to get there
Unless you are staying close by ( which I actually wish we had done ) the best way to get to the pyramids is by Uber or private driver. A lot of people obviously go with tours but if you are like us and you love exploring by yourself then those two are the best options.
Should you have a guide
Most people that give advice about Egypt will say yes you need a guide. I for one don’t think you do but you might want one anyway. We did the Pyramids twice without a guide and although it was intense it was fine. If you are a solo female you might want to rethink going sans guide.
A guide for us would waste our precious shooting time as I had already googled everything I could the history of the pyramids before heading there. We like exploring by ourselves and not doing the touristy thing. We also opted not to do the camel or horse cart rides and walk mostly because the animals don’t get treated too well.
A guide for the most part would act more like a buffer for scams and harassment other than anything else. We realised if you just stand your ground and say no then you should be fine. At the pyramids it is so busy they wont waste your time for too long.
So in short if you feel vulnerable or you want to know more about the history get a guide but if you are savvy and want to do your own thing don’t.
What to wear
Egypt is a Muslim country so wearing clothes that are a bit more conservative is the norm. That being said at big tourist spots they aren’t super hectic about it as long as you aren’t parading around with everything on show. They do have tourist police and I believe that if you are not appropriate they will let you know.
I was fine with my longer skirt and scarf but I also wore a big loose hoodie while walking around people for most part as not to draw attention. It was also extremely cold when we went so remember that it might be cooler in Winter than you expected.
For walking around I would say comfortable shoes are a must. We clocked over 20k steps on that first morning at the Pyramids by walking everywhere. I wore brown boots as they were comfy and wouldn’t get dirty!
Scams to look out for
- Free or pay what you want camel scam. – The camel guys are relentless, they will be super charming to you at first telling you to get a photo or sit on the camel for free etc. Nothing is free though and as soon as you agree they will want money and sometimes quite a bit. If you don’t give them any they will get really aggresive.
- Phone hostage scam. – Don’t let anyone take your phone or camera to take a picture of you. They will ask for money or not want to return your phone.
- Best photo scam. – So many people at the entrance will tell you to follow them to the right place, or the perfect place for a photo etc etc. Do it and you will have to pay up
These are just a few of the scams floating around so always be on guard. Some of them can really be very convincing screaming after you that you are going the wrong way etc. Just ignore them. Once you are inside the Pyramid area almost everywhere except the far off dunes are fair game to walk to. If you aren’t sure walk straight to one of the police areas and ask them.
There are also plain clothes police men that patrol and you can recognise them by the fact that they have gun holsters. We had one stand with us while we took photos out on the dunes. He explained he needed to check that nothing happened to us while taking photos so far away.
Best photo spots and where to find them
It isreally difficult to find photo spot locations.We ended up visiting the Pyramids twice to find the one we were looking for.
We entered the Pyramids complex from the entrance closest to the Great Pyramid and I would suggest you do the same as it is the easiest! From there we headed up the the road past the Great Pyramid and then turned right.
- That is where we took our first couple photo. From the corner with the light shining on it it was a really cool first angle for us to spot. It was still early we could set up our tripod and get a photo no problem!
Then we actually headed all the way up the road to the panaromic view point. It wasn’t great for us as it was a misty day and we couldn’t see a thing. It is also where a lot of tour busses head to so not a great spot for photos anyway.
2. The second spot we really liked is when we came down again. The Great Pyramid was sticking out slightly behind the Pyramid of Khafre which looked pretty cool.
We were still looking for that one spot with all the pyramids and at last we found it on our second day!
3. Spot number three is the money shot and is actually taken from behind the Pyramid area with the roads. This is where the camels walk to and from the panoramic view point but be careful going there alone!
4. Lastly we went to the Sphinx and I actually wish we had gone earlier. By 11am it was jam packed with people and difficult to get good photos. We also got bombarded with youngsters wanting selfies as the Sphinx entrance is really busy!