Tip One: Get the Right Giza Ticket
First a little business! (We’ll be marveling at the Pyramids of Giza in a second, I promise!) This article contains affiliate links and I may earn a commission, at NO cost to you. All proceeds will be used to help support the sustainability of this blog. I NEVER promote companies I don’t personally use and endorse!
There’s more than one ticket for the Giza complex. Make sure you get the one that includes everything you want to see. Some tickets only include some sights and some include all. And some include venturing inside the pyramids and others do not. Some also include private tour guides, to deliver the history of the site to you while you explore. You can also add on activities like camel rides, cruises down the nile, helicopter tours, and, air ballon rides (YES!!) You can get most of these experiences (including the air balloon rides!) with your choice of many Viator tours of Giza here!
Tip Two: Arrive Early!
Arrive early to avoid the biggest crowds! The Pyramids of Giza attract huge crowds, particularly in peak seasons. If you want to avoid spending more of your time exploring the site than standing in lines, arrive as early as possible! The quietest times are close to opening and closing times. The Pyramids of Giza are usually open from 7:00am to 7:00pm from April to September and 8:00am to 5:00pm from October to March. (These times are local!) But these hours are subject to change so please confirm with your hotel or tour company before setting your schedule.
Tip Three: Beware of Scammers!
You have several options to get to the Pyramids. Use Uber, with a set rate determined in advance, let your hotel help you arrange transportation to the pyramids with a reliable company, or take a tour! I recommend working with a reputable tour company, so that you can be safe, save money, and skip the lines! (I’m sure spending long times standing in lines is the last thing you want to do in Giza!) I’ve had very positive experiences with Viator tours time and time again. You can check out their tour offerings here! Whatever you do, don’t buy “scalper” tickets! Best case scenario – they probably don’t work. Worst case scenario – you find your accommodations are downgraded to an Egyptian jail!
Tip Four: Ride a Camel!
Consider a camel ride! Camel riding is easy and fun! I’ve taken camel rides multiple times, and each time found the experience very pleasant. Being on the back of a camel is less jerky than being on a horse. It feels like a smoother, calmer ride. And they’re a lot more cooperative than horses, which tend to have more of a mind of their own! There are many opportunities to ride a camel at Giza. If you hire a camel guide on-the-spot, don’t forget to haggle on price! In tourist areas like this, U.S. dollars and Euros are widely accepted.
Tip Five: Sunscreen and Water
Don’t forget sunscreen and water – it’s the desert! You want to be able to enjoy the rest of your trip sunburn-free and comfortable. So stop at the market or the hotel shop and pick up these essentials for your protection in this harsh desert environment! It’s easy to be distracted by everything there is to see here, so remember to make hydration a priority! And don’t assume it’s hot all the time. The desert can get windy and/or chilly depending on season and time of day, so be prepared. Your hotel or tour operator can advise you based on when you’re going.
Tip Six: Going Inside the Pyramid
Yes, you can go inside a pyramid. But be advised, it’s empty, steep, and hot, with narrow passages. Traversing the narrow aisles inside the pyramid requires bending over and sure footing. Consider your ability to navigate these physical obstacles, based on your personal medical situation, before booking this option. And if you do decide to venture in, be careful! There’s an additional charge for this experience unless you book it as part of a tour in which it’s included.
Tip Seven: Don’t Climb the Pyramids!
No, you should not climb the pyramids. It’s against the law. It can be tempting… As you can see from the photo above, you may find “steps” that look ripe for climbing. But it’s officially illegal to climb the outside of the pyramids. I’ve heard stories of guides “letting” people climb, or being bribed into “looking the other way.” But please be aware that if you do this you will be breaking local statutes, and are taking the chance of potentially getting fined or even winding up in jail. I’d advise against it. Proceed with caution!
Tip Eight: Haggling
When shopping from street vendors, haggling is welcome – and encouraged! Throughout Egypt, and the Middle East for that matter, haggling is common. Prices are usually “jacked-up” with the assumption that customers will haggle. And vendors are happy to take the extra profit if you don’t. So do yourself a favor and try to talk them down instead of paying the inflated asking price. I know a lot of people in the West are uncomfortable with this practice. In fact, I was too, at first. But I got used to it pretty quickly, and was glad to have more money in my pocket at the end of the day! It can even be fun, like a game! Consider it part of your “cultural immersion!” In heavily touristed areas U.S. dollars and Euros are widely accepted.
Tip Nine: Traffic
There’s a lot of traffic in Cairo, and it takes a while to get to the Pyramids from downtown. Consider staying in a Giza hotel, and then moving to one in Cairo to best see both destinations. The added advantage of staying a night in Giza is the chance it gives you to see the site at it’s quietist – at opening and closing. Plus it allows you to see the incredible night-time light show! And the vibrant city of Cairo is definitely worth the detour. Be sure to check out the Egyptian Museum downtown to view the abundant display of ancient Egyptian statues and artifacts. It will enhance your visit to the pyramids!
Tip Ten: Nighttime in Giza
Another advantage of staying the night in GIza: the nighttime light show! There’s an additional charge to experience the light show, but this unforgettable experience is priceless! You can efficiently get access to the amazing light show by booking a Giza tour that includes the light show here! Enjoy the break from the intense daytime sun and cooler temperatures at night, too!
Tip Eleven: Try the Local Food!
The foods of Egypt are delicious! Here you’ll find a lot of grilled meats and other healthy, but delectable options! Hummus is also a standard offering, as well as mouth-watering fresh-baked pita breads. But my favorite Egyptian delight are a dessert called “bird’s nest,” pictured above. These are also common throughout the Middle East and in Turkey. They contain vermicelli noodles sweetened with honey and spiced with cardamom. And they also sometimes include pistachio nuts. So bring your appetite, and Bon Appétit!
Tip Twelve: Take a Detour to Luxor!
Don’t end your Egypt adventure at GIza and Cairo! More spectacular ancient Egyptian sites are to be found at Luxor and Valley of the Kings! Luxor is 75 miles (656.8km) south of Cairo. You can rent a car, take a train, or take an organized tour to get there. Luxor is a spectacular ancient temple, brilliantly preserved. And Valley of the Kings consists of a series of Egyptian Pharaoh tombs that are in extraordinary condition, and an absolute must-see for anyone remotely interested in ancient Egyptian art history. Another unforgettable experience would be to take a cruise down the Nile. And there’s even more to see in Egypt! For example, check out my blog post Red Sea Egypt Submarine Tour!
Thanks for reading! I look forward to our next travel adventure next week! Please comment below – have you visited Giza, or do you want to? And remember to share this article with friends, because sharing is caring! And a lot of people could use a little virtual travel right about now!