The Pyramids: The 8 Wonders of The World (Part 2)

One of my favorite goals that I accomplished was to see all 8 Wonders of the World before I turned 30. It was a fun adventure, and in this series I’ll walk you through what the eight wonders are, and about how to visit each one.

Part 1: Petra

Also, one thing I love about the Pyramids is that they’re the reason we now have 8 wonders of the world and not 7. In 2000, when the 7 Wonders Commission was voting on the New 7 Wonders, the Pyramids were an option in the vote. Egypt countered that the Pyramids have ALWAYS been one of the 7 wonders, and are thus not subject to the “New 7 Wonders” vote. So we now have 8 wonders!

General Info

Location: Cairo, Egypt
Nearest Major Airport: Cairo International Airport (airport code CAI)
Overall Difficulty to Visit (ranked among wonders, 1 is the most difficult, 8 is the least difficult): 3
Why That Difficulty Rating? Cairo is not especially hard to get in and out of, but the Pyramids themselves can prove to be somewhat difficult. First, you have some general unease about the safety of traveling in Egypt. Then, you have all of the vendors trying to sell or scam you at the Pyramids. There is definitely a lot more hassling there than at any of the other wonders.

How Much Does Visiting the Pyramids Cost?

Entry to The Pyramids is 120 Egyptian Pounds, which works out to $6.76, based on early 2018 exchange rates. Note that the Egyptian Pound more or less crashed in early 2017, so it’s likely they may raise these rates soon.

While 120 Egyptian Pounds covers entrance to the site, if you want to go into any of the Pyramids, that’s an additional cost. Entry into the Great Pyramid is 300 Egyptian Pounds or $16.93 USD. On any given day, the Great Pyramid is open along with only one of the two others. It depends on the day which one is open, but all three won’t be. It’s 60 Egyptian Pounds to go inside the second or third pyramid, which works out to $3.39.

Thus, if you want to go to the Pyramids and go inside them, you’re looking at a total of $27.09 USD per person.

You can go to the Sound and Light Show at night for 150 Egyptian Pounds ($8.47), but it’s been suggested going across the street to the roof of Pizza Hut gives you a better view, and a chance to have dinner with it!

The last item for entrance at the Pyramids is the Solar Boat Museum – it’s 80 Egyptian Pounds ($4.52).

Should I Take a Tour to the Pyramids?

This is a tough one. You’ll likely stay near Tahrir Square, which is a decently long (30-45 minute) drive from The Pyramids. This means you’re going to need to find a way to get from your hotel to the Pyramids and back. That sounds deceptively simple. Cairo cab drivers are well-known for scalping the crap out of tourists, changing the price on arrival, not actually arriving at the Pyramids but at a friend’s shop, and more. Thus, if you’re on a tour, you’re likely to have some level of stopping at an alabaster showroom. But you know you’ll eventually get there.

There are lots of camel ride salespeople and general peddlers at the site, so if you take a tour you might miss some of the hassle.

My recommendation is to take an Uber back and forth – Uber doesn’t make you pay the driver directly, so the price doesn’t magically change. (You’ll need an international data plan or to get an Egyptian SIM card for that one.)

Whatever you do, do NOT rent a car in Egypt.

What to Know About The Pyramids Themselves

How long should you go? You can pretty easily see the Pyramids within a half day if you’re in something of a rush, or you could spend close to a whole day if you include lunch at Mena House, going into the Pyramids, buying a camel ride, etc.

All of the pictures of the Pyramids show sand and dunes, and it makes it feel like the Pyramids are in the middle of the desert in the middle of nowhere. This could not be further from the truth.

The Giza Plateau (where the Pyramids are) has largely be spared from the development, which is why you get those awesome pictures. But just around the area that’s officially the site, it’s a bustling metropolis! It’s actually quite disconcerting to drive up to the Pyramids – you see them, but with all the crazy traffic and businesses of Cairo!

What are the key things to see? The Pyramids! And the Sphinx. The Sphinx is far smaller than you’d think it would be, and it’s downhill from the entrance area. The Pyramids are incredibly straightforward to visit!

You can also see the Solar Boat Museum when you go – it’s right there, easy to access, and can be a nice respite from the heat!

Are there other events or activities to do? When you’re in Cairo, you should absolutely visit the Egyptian Museum. It’s across town from the Pyramids and it’s hard to fit in the same day as a visit to the Pyramids. (They’re opening a new Egyptian Museum near the Pyramids soon!). The Egyptian Museum is unlike anything or any museum you’ve ever been in before. It’s worth going to!

If you’re in Egypt, I cannot recommend enough that you take a Nile Cruise. It’s such an incredible adventure, and was one of the most incredible things I’ve done!

How Much Does the Whole Trip to The Pyramids Cost?

Like everything, the cost for a trip to Egypt and the Pyramids depends on your taste and how you like to travel. I strongly recommend you taking the time to take a Nile cruise and see Abu Simbel.

If you want to know how much I spent visiting, you can find my costs to visit Egypt here.

Here are rough ranges you should expect to spend (in USD), and this assumes you’re making a trip to and from the US. This is a wide range, because it includes a Nile Cruise and some in-country flights. If you’re just wanting to get in and out of the country to see the Pyramids, you could hypothetically do so in a long weekend.

If you’re adding Egypt to another trip overseas, you’ll save in places like flights!

Just like everything in life, there are many ways to accomplish travel to Egypt, each with a big variety of price tags. If you want some ideas of where to stay in Egypt, I put together a post with hotel ideas for budget, mid-range, and high end options.

Here are some ideas of how much things cost and how much to budget:

Low End

This assumes that you’ll be doing as much as possible on your own, without tours or fancy hotels – just the basics! These are per person (though, of course, hotels are not!).
Roundtrip Airfare from the US to Cairo: $750-$1400, depending on dates, seasons, etc.
Hostels/Low-Range Hotels Per Night: $5 – $20/night
Meals (focusing on deals, eating hotel/hostel breakfast, etc) Per Person Per Day: $5 – $15
Low End Nile Cruise (per person): $340 – $400
Pyramids Entry & Uber to and From $20
Extras and Miscellaneous Per Day: $15 – $40
Total (assuming 7 nights in-country): $1,100 – $2,000

Mid Range

Some per-person ranges, assuming you like a bit of comfort but not a lot.
Roundtrip Airfare from the US to Cairo: $750-$1400, depending on dates, seasons, etc.
Mid-Range Hotels Per Night: $45 – $95/night
Meals (mid-range, some fast food but some sit-down restaurants) Per Person Per Day: $15 – $80
Pyramids Tour with Group: $15 – $45
Mid-Range Nile Cruise: $450 – $700
Day Trip to Abu Simbel $150 – $300
Extras and Miscellaneous Per Day: $40 – $50
Total (assuming 3 nights in-country): $1,800 – $3,500

Higher End

Roundtrip Airfare from the US to Amman: $750-$1400, depending on dates, seasons, etc.
High-End Hotels Per Night: $150 – $450/night (no joke, I’ve found both of the Four Seasons in Cairo for $160 or less!)
Meals (high-end, at hotels and with table service) Per Person Per Day: $50 – $120
Private Pyramids Tour: $75 – $100
High End Nile Cruise: $1,000 – $1,800
Day Trip to Abu Simbel $150 – $300
Extras and Miscellaneous Per Day: $60 – $150
Total (assuming 3 nights in-country): $3,500 – $5,500

What About Taking a Tour Group Through Egypt?

This is not a bad idea, especially if you’re traveling alone and don’t know Arabic! Tour groups will take a lot of the hassle out of Egypt, and they’ll make sure you see the incredible sites! The downside, is of course, going with the group for things. But the upside is an awesome way to meet new people and make new friends!

Egypt Tours I’d Suggest:

Low-End: G Adventures has options in Egypt starting around $600 for 8 days. That’s pretty cheap! (But be careful with the airport pickup things with G Adventures.)
Mid-Range: Trafalgar Tours is extremely reputable, and has week-long tours in Egypt for around $2,300 per person. (And they include a Nile Cruise!)
High-End: For luxury, it’s hard to beat Abercrombie & Kent. Their tours start around $5,400 per person, and are top-notch everything!

Are The Pyramids Worth Visiting?

Yes! It’s hard to describe the wonder standing in front of these incredible structures that have been around for millennia. You can go to Europe and see Cathedrals built in the 13th century – and then stand in front of the Pyramids knowing they were built a few millennia before. It’s a wonder like no other, and it’s an amazing sight to see.

That said, the Pyramids are honestly not the best part of Egypt. Take the time to take a Nile Cruise. I found so much wonder in all the sights up and down the Nile, and the awesome thing about those is they’re not quite as in the middle of things as the Pyramids.

Looking for more wonders? Find Part 1 (Petra) here!


A guide to visiting the Pyramids in 2018 as part of the 8 wonders of the world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *