Visiting the Valley of the Kings

Touring the tombs of the Pharoahs

By: Riana Lagarde

Some experts have claimed that the excavation site of the Valley of the Kings has been exhausted, but it’s not. The desert region near the southern (Upper) Egyptian city of Luxor that was used as an ancient burial ground for Pharaohs, queens and nobles from 1500 B.C. to 1000 B.C., still holds hidden treasures.

Nearly 85 years after Tutankhamen was discovered, archaeologists have unearthed a new tomb nearby although King Tut’s tomb remains one of the most famous in the world.

The new tomb, several feet beneath the ground, was opened for the first time to journalists in February. It held five human mummies with painted funerary masks enclosed in wooden sarcophagi and several large, alabaster storage jars in a single-room chamber. The mummies date to the 18th dynasty, 1539 B.C. to 1292 B.C.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we discover more tombs in the next 10 years,” U.S. archaeologist Kent Weeks told reporters.

These well-concealed catacombs were meticulously cut into the limestone hills on the West Bank of the Nile River about 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. Serving as the final resting place for Egyptian rulers including four Ramses, Merneptah, Seti I, Tuthmosis III, Amenhotep II, Horemheb and Tutankhamen the tomb was deemed the Valley of the Kings. The kings’ formal names and titles were carved and elaborately painted in their tombs and were filled with valuable possessions for the afterlife.

Clients who want to get up close to the ancient kings are best served by tour and travel companies. Offering perks which independent travelers wouldn’t experience, tour operators provide lectures or visits by famous Egyptologists or special entertainment, such as dinners inside temples.

Typical Tour

Most companies book Luxor as a two-day trip and can combine the city visit with a Nile cruise, seaplane tour or Bedouin safari.

To avoid the afternoon heat, most morning tours explore the West Bank, including the Valley of the Kings, the Necropolis of Thebes, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple and the Colossi of Memnon some of Egypt’s finest monuments.

The second half of the day is often reserved for the East Bank, where the Luxor and Karnak temples are located, as well as the excellent Luxor museum. Other activities might include a visit to the local bazaar or the light and sound show in Karnak.


Luxor Tours offers packages and specializes in Luxor and Upper Egypt.
Commission: 10 percent

Osoris offers a seaplane ride over Luxor, Nile cruises and customized events.

Ya’lla Tours’ Best of Luxor tour includes an Egypt-
ologist/tour guide and visits Karnak Temple, Tem-
ple of Hathor, Valley of the Kings and more. Three-day, two-night itineraries start at $695.
Commission: 12 percent