Luxor/Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings (Arabic: Wadi el-Muluk, وادي الملوك; also known as Biban el-Moluk, the "Gates of the Kings") is an Egyptian archaeological locality in the hills immediately behind the West Bank of Luxor. As such, it is one of the most remarkable archaeological destinations in the world - the burial place of most of the pharaohs of Egypt of the New Kingdom.
The tombs within the Valley are officially given a KV number, standing for "King's Valley". The tomb of Tutankhamun, for example, is also known as KV62.
A number of archaeological excavations continue periodically within the Valley of the King's to the present day; perhaps best known is the American University of Cairo's excavation of KV5, the tomb of the Sons of Ramesses II. Director of this excavation is Professor Kent Weeks, also director of the Theban Mapping Project, officially granted the permit to map the Theban Necropolis in its entirety - a project now well advanced.
You will require a heavy amount of negotiation to find a good price to hire a car for a day. EGP 200 is a good price that you should be able to haggle for in order to visit Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut, Medinat Habu, and the Colossus and Memnon (4-5hrs). Your taxi driver will likely try to pull some scam by adding a surcharge for drop off in a different location or stating that the price is per person, but just fight it if so.
See the West Bank get around on foot section.
Open: Summer daily 6AM - 5PM (Winter 6AM - 4PM). Admission: LE 100/50 for three tombs of your choice (this is printed on the ticket but not displayed at the ticket office; those wishing to view more than 3 tombs will need to purchase additional tickets or discreetly pay LE 10 to the tomb guards), available from the main Ticket Office in the West Bank. Additional separate tickets are required for Tutankhamun and Rameses VI from a separate ticket office further up the valley.
Note that not all the tombs within the Valley are currently open to the public. Many are closed periodically for resting and renovation. As of December 8 2011, the following tombs were open: KV1, KV2, KV6, KV9, KV62, KV11, KV15, KV16, and KV47.
Information within the Valley has been vastly improved in recent years; (mostly) gone are the old faded signs, now replaced by engraved metal signs detailing the history, architecture and decoration of each tomb, together with detailed plans and diagrams (these have been provided courtesy of the Theban Mapping Project, in association with the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities).
In order to get the best idea of the tombs within the Valley of the Kings, it is wise to visit at least one tomb from each of the three main building phases (see below).
Anyone interested in seeing evidence of the damage to the mummy done during initial attempts to remove it from the coffin will be disappointed as only the head and shoulders are visible.
Phase One Tombs
Phase Two Tombs
Phase Three Tombs
No food. No water. Some shade. Toilets available. Mini-tram carries visitors from entrance to the checkpoint.
The Valley of the king ticket does not include a tram ride from the ticket office to entrance of the first tomb. If you are not in a rush take the time to walk. You will save the 3 min tram ride and save your self 5 LE
Bringing your own small torch to gently illuminate some of the more obscure reliefs is always a good idea.
Watch out for the guards in the tombs that may offer to take your picture (which is against the rules) for some baksheesh. If they get your camera they can take any sort of picture, then report you to the authorities, which is a big hassle. Beware that a camera flash in a tomb will alert the guards to picture taking that is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. You will be given the choice of leaving the site (not just that tomb) or paying a second admission fee. Since the camera check-in is directly after the admissions, technically taking pictures outside of the tombs is not allowed either. If you have your camera with you and wish to take outdoor photos, be sure to use discretion.
Visitors to the Valley of the Kings may also wish to consider a visit to the nearby Western Valley.