One full day for all the major ancient sites in-and-around Cairo? Think that's impossible to do? Think not! Not only is it doable in a single day, it's possible to do it comfortably, on budget, at your own pace, and without the stress or hassle often found when touring Egypt's ancient sites.
All you need is an Egyptian Sidekick, who takes care of everything on your behalf, from language, and transaction support, to transportation, and supervision. For $80 USD we had unlimited sightseeing, unlimited travel, complete supervision, and the 24-hour availability of our Sidekick and driver. We purchased our admission tickets at each of the sites, and were shocked at how cheap they were. The best way to explore Lower Egypt, is with a local who has that indispensable know-how.
- Locations: 7+ Different Sites
- Location Breakdown: Red Pyramid, Bent Pyramid, Colossus, Stepped Pyramid, Imhotep Museum, Giza Pyramids, Great Pyramid, Solar Barque Museum, Sphinx
- Route: Dahshur -> Memphis -> Saqqara -> Giza
- Duration: 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM
- Tour Cost: $80 USD + Admission
- Discounts: ISIC Student Card Discounts 23%-53%
- The Dahshur Pyramids. We started early. Approximately 7:30 AM, and drove to Dahshur, south of Cairo on the West bank. We got there at around 8:30 AM. We first went to a scenic point, to see the first true pyramid ever constructed, the Red Pyramid, with the Bent Pyramid in the background. Both were allegedly built by pharaoh Sneferu. We ventured inside the Red Pyramid, and our Sidekick, Mohsen paid-off the Red Pyramid guardian at the top of the scaffold - we didn't need to do anything. We descended into the two burial chambers, and admired the ancient corbelled ceilings. Afterwards, we drove up close to the Bent Pyramid, and walked around it, stumbling upon upon the small pyramid of Queen Hetepheres. It is possible to see the crumbling Black Pyramid from the Bent Pyramid scaffold. The unfinished mud-brick pyramid of Amenemhat III can also be seen in the distance. Regular per person admission: $5.75 USD.
- The Colossus at Memphis. Having arrived at the Memphis enclosure at about 10:30 AM, we began to explore the grounds. The Colossus of Ramses the Great, which once stood 10 metres tall, and the many other ancient stone relics from the Temple of Ptah were incredible. The carvings on the sarcophagi were amazing, and there were many other huge striding statues in the area as well. Pay particular attention to the Alabaster Sphinx, second in size only to the Great Sphinx at Giza, and carved out of a single piece of quartzite. The enclosure wasn't large, and we didn't need a lot of time there to feel satisfied with what we had seen. Regular per person admission: $5.75 USD.
- Mit Rahinah Pitstop. Between Memphis and Saqqara we decided to stop for a water break, purchasing drinks and some cookies. The Egyptian deserts can be hot, but that's part of their incredible appeal. Cost of a large bottle of water in Egypt: $0.60 USD.
- Stepped Pyramid at Saqqara. Saqqara was on our itinerary by 11:30 AM. We saw the first stone structure, and the first pyramid ever built. The stepped pyramid of pharaoh Djoser was definitely a sight to behold. The complex which surrounds it is full of mastaba tombs, and winding rooms - many of which remain intact to this day, literally like something out of an adventure film. The pyramid of pharaoh Unas as well as that of pharaoh Pepy are easily accessible by foot. While the interior of Unas's pyramid is not stable for entry, the surrounding mastaba tombs should not be missed. The pyramid of pharaoh Pepy can be entered, subject to restoration work. The highlight of Saqqara is also the extensive Imhotep museum located at the gate to the Saqqara necropolis, detailing the genius of the famous architect. Regular per person admission: $11.50 USD.
- Giza Pitstop. Feeling slightly hungry after our explorations at Saqqara, we stopped at a western fast-food outlet in Giza, right before driving up to the Giza Plateau. Although we didn't yet feel comfortable eating local food, for fear of catching the 'Pharaoh's Revenge', we ate what the locals ate by sundown. Food is extremely cheap in Egypt. Cost of a meal: $1.50 USD.
- Giza Pyramids & the Sphinx. We reached the Giza Plateau, with the Great Pyramids & Sphinx by 1:00 PM. A walkabout around the massive Great Pyramid of pharaoh Khufu is highly recommended, as you'll see the enormity of the structure. We made sure to purchase entry into the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Khafre, before walking into the enclosure at the ticket office. The Great Pyramid interior is incredible, and definitely worth the money to enter - don't make the mistake of not purchasing entry just because it looks significantly more pricey than any other archaeological site in Egypt. Most museums in Europe charge 2x or 3x that! The Solar Barque museum was incredible, a perfectly reconstructed funerary barque, dismantled and store at the base of the Great Pyramid - a must! The Sphinx and the Valley Temple are included in the price of admission to the Giza Plateau, but don't end your day there, go to the scenic lookout overlooking the Giza Pyramids for those perfect, iconic shots. Regular per person admission: $11.50 USD (Giza Plateau), $28.75 USD (Pyramid of Khufu), $5.75 USD (Pyramid of Khafre), $5.75 USD (Pyramid of Menkaure), $7.20 USD (Solar Barque Museum).
An incredible day of ancient Egyptian archaeology on the Nile's West bank, all in one day, all on a budget, and without all of that famous stress and hassle. Sightseeing with an Egyptian Sidekick is by far the best way to go.
If you're looking for suggestions, cost-saving tips, or anything else, don't hesitate to get in touch!