Our Trip to See the Pyramids of Giza - Take Our Advice
When most people think of Egypt, they think of the Great Pyramids of Giza. They’re an image that everyone is familiar with and that’s no surprise as being one of the Seven Wonders of the World. No trip to Egypt is complete until a visit to the pyramids has been undertaken. Our trip to see the pyramids was one of the first Egyptian sites we hit. So, what did we think of them? How did we get there and get around? What advice can we give others who wish to see the pyramids for themselves? Read on to find out.
How to Get to the Pyramids of Giza
There are a number of ways to see the Pyramids of Giza, from your own DIY trip to booking on a guided tour, but to start your trip to see the pyramids, you’ll first need to get there.
By Metro and Public Bus
We chose to get to the pyramids using public transport. We always try to use public transport when we can, not only because it’s usually the cheapest option, but also because we seem to like the challenge and adventure.
Getting to the pyramids this way was easy. Wherever you are staying in Cairo, find the nearest metro station and hop on a train to El Giza station. If you are staying in central Cairo, the cost should be just 2 EGP per person (less than 10 pence!).
Check out this site for Cairo Metro information and maps.
When you arrive at El Giza station, make your way to the main road called Al Haram (Pyramid Road). If you struggle to find it, it won’t be long until someone shows you the way as there are plenty of locals looking to join tourists on their trip to see the pyramids as a guide. Let them show you the way to Al Haram but be sure to tell them that you are not looking for a guide. This isn’t the place to pick one up.
Once on busy Al Haram, flag down one of the many passing minivans heading West to the Pyramids. These vans should continue straight along Al Haram until they either stop or turn off, either way, it’s another 1km walk from there in the same Westerly direction as Al Haram. You’ll soon see the Great Pyramid ahead of you to the left. Ignore anyone that tells you that you’re going the wrong way or there’s another entrance, just keep going straight and you’ll soon find the entrance for your trip to see the Pyramids.
If public transport doesn’t sound like the option for you, then a taxi is an easy alternative. Taxi’s in Cairo are pretty cheap, so if you’re in a group, it’s another inexpensive way of getting to the pyramids. Make sure you use a metered taxi or agree a set rate before you get in. Another tip is to insist that you are not taken to the driver’s friend’s or family’s shops on the way where you’ll be pressured to buy something you don’t want.
By Guided Tour
On this occasion, we did not opt for a guided tour, but if we did, we would have booked it through our go-to-tour-company called Get Your Guide. There are a lot of dodgy tour companies and guides in Egypt so booking through an international tour company such as Get Your Guide will give you peace of mind. Their tours are also really cheap!
Here are some well-reviewed tour options:
- Giza Pyramids, Sphinx and Sakkara – Private Full Day Tour
- Giza Pyramid, Sakkara & Memphis Full-Day Private Tour
- Giza Pyramids and Sphinx: Half-Day Private Tour
- Cairo Desert Safari By Quad Bike around Giza Pyramids
Getting Tickets for Your Trip to See the Pyramids
Tickets to the Pyramids of Giza do not need to be purchased in advance. On arrival to the entrance, make your way to the official ticket desk. On your way to the ticket desk, you’ll no doubt be told by many local men that you can buy your ticket down some dusty small side road. Ignore these guys as they are horse and camel owners trying to lure you to enter the Pyramid Park on board one of their animals for a fee.
The official ticket desk will look like the above photo and the costs are as follows:
Entrance to the park to see the Pyramids of Giza – 80 EGP
Entrance inside the Great Pyramid – 200 EGP
Entrance inside the 2nd or 3rd Pyramid – 40 EGP
See fees for all Pyramids of Giza sites of interest here.
How to See the Pyramids of Giza
There are numerous ways of getting around the Pyramids of Giza and exploring the rest of the Pyramid Park.
In our opinion, a visit to the Pyramids is best explored on foot. This way you can travel to the main sites in your own time and really soak up what you are seeing. The distance between each of the 3 main pyramids is about a 15-minute walk and it took us around 45 minutes to an hour to walk from the entrance to the furthest viewpoint of all three Pyramids.
Allow some more time if you like to take lots of photos and make sure you pack plenty of suncream and water. Never underestimate the Egyptian sun!
Horse and Cart or Camel
Be prepared to be hassled like you’ve never been hassled before by a large number of horse and camel owners. These guys are some of the most persistent men we have ever come across on our travels. You cannot blame them, tourism has dropped massively in Egypt and this is the only way they know how to make money. They’re desperate to make any money they can so will ask you 3, 4, 5 or even 6 times until they finally get the message.
If you don’t want to ride a horse or camel, it’s best to either not make eye contact, or do as we do and politely say no with a smile, even if they keep trying. It’s nice to be friendly with these guys as you can only imagine what struggles they must be currently going through.
Costs to ride a horse or camel vary between the different owners. Prices ranged from 50 EGP to 200 EGP per hour. The younger guys seemed to be more willing to drop their prices.
Inside the Great Pyramid
We each paid 200 EGP to see inside the Great Pyramid. Some might say the price is a little steep when compared to the prices for other tickets within the park, but we don’t think a trip to see the pyramids is complete until you experience what it’s like inside the oldest pyramid in the world.
We stupidly expected a grand entrance into a hollow building where you can look up to the highest point in the middle, much like an ancient giant cathedral, but no, instead we were greeted by a small opening on the side of the pyramid which led to a narrow tunnel. The tunnel then started to shorten and ascend for several meters before reaching the Queens Chamber. This part of the tunnel is not for those who suffer from claustrophobia!
At the Queen’s Chamber, the tunnel dramatically gets taller and leads for several more meters higher up into the Great Pyramid. This part of the narrow passageway is called the Great Gallery. At the top is a small hole in the wall that leads to the King’s Chamber which contains nothing but a disused tomb.
The time inside the Great Pyramid lasts not more than 20 minutes and it would have been more satisfying if there were more tunnels and passages to explore, but it’s still another fascinating insight into the ancient Egyptian worlds and an alternative lesser known viewpoint of the Great Pyramid.
It’s worth noting that cameras are not allowed inside the Great Pyramid but you can trust your camera with the guards at the entrance.
What Did We Think of Our Trip to See the Pyramids of Giza
There’s no doubting the captivating history of the various ancient Egyptian worlds and the Pyramids of Giza are the icons of this past. We had to sometimes pinch ourselves to realise that we were at this epic wonder of the world. The scale of these buildings can only be truly appreciated when you are there, standing in front of them.
The surreal surrounding desert landscape added to the ancient adventure but we were soon reminded where we were when noticing the Cairo skyline in the distance.
Yes, we were continually approached by persistent men on horses and camels, but we didn’t let this spoil our trip to see the pyramids. Safety in Egypt is a concern for many travellers, but we didn’t feel unsafe or threatened at any point. Quiet the opposite in fact.
With tourism in 2017 at an all-time low, we appreciated the far fewer crowds and not having to line up for anything. If we visited the Pyramids of Giza a few years ago, when tourism was at its highest, I don’t think we would have enjoyed our experience as much. Now is the time to visit Egypt and see the famous sites this country has to offer.