When heading to Egypt, high on everyone’s list of historical sites to see is the Tutankhamun tomb. We stopped here during our travels through Egypt and recommend that you do too!
Here’s everything you need to know when planning your visit.
What is the Tutankhamun tomb?
Known as King Tut or the boy king, Tutankhamun was an 18th Dynasty pharaoh. He was only 8 or 9 years old when he became king, and he reigned for a further 9 years. His death has been the subject of debates for years – it was thought he may have been murdered by a blow to the head, but x-rays and CT scans have disproved this. Cause of death remains a mystery for now, however.
His tomb was discovered by Howard Carter. In 1922, British archaeologist Carter and his team were in the Valley of the Kings when they discovered a step leading into a tomb that was remarkably intact. With four rooms and several thousand objects, it took Carter years to excavate the tomb.
Within the tomb, of course, was a stone sarcophagus. Three coffins nested inside of each other like Russian dolls, and the final one – made from solid gold – contained the mummy of Tutankhamun himself. It had been preserved for over 3000 years!
Where is the tomb?
The Tutankhamun tomb is in the Valley of the Kings. This is on the west bank of the River Nile, opposite what we call Luxor today. It’s fairly remote, in order to deter thieves in days past. Sadly this didn’t really work, and a lot of the tombs were raided – the Tutankhamun tomb was not, though, which is part of what makes it so famous today.
Can I go inside the Tutankhamun tomb?
YES! The tomb is open for visitors, however you do have to pay extra. Tickets and packages for entry into the Valley of the Kings do not cover entry into the Tutankhamun tomb, however it is only a few pounds/dollars extra.
The tomb has recently been restored. The project took a decade, and the Tutankhamun tomb was still open to visitors during this time. The Valley of the Kings has been a tourist trap for thousands of years – before it was rediscovered by modern day archaeologists, the Romans and Greeks of ancient times found it and visited the tombs. Because of this, and because interest doesn’t seem to be waning at all, something had to be done.
For the most part, the Tutankhamun tomb has been emptied. However, there’s one thing you will get to see if you visit: the king himself! That’s right, the mummy of the boy king remains in the tomb. When discovering and excavating the tomb, Howard Carter caused a little bit of accidental damage to the mummy. Because of this, it can’t be moved to Cairo with the rest of the goods. Doing so would damage it completely.
Getting to the Valley of the Kings
There are many ways to get to the Valley of the Kings. By using Luxor as a starting point, you can easily make your way to the Tutankhamun tomb and all of the other tombs in the valley…
First of all, you need to get to Luxor. The closest airport is Luxor International Airport (LXR) – it is 4 miles east of the city itself, and the drive from airport to city centre takes roughly 15 minutes. You can fly to Luxor from many major cities (London, Paris, Glasgow) but most flights are indirect.
- The ferry takes you across from Luxor to the west bank, and from here you can hire a taxi with a driver who will take you on a full day tour of the sites for the right price.
- You can also hire a bike. This keeps costs down and allows you to do it all at your own pace.
- Another option is to hike to the Valley of the Kings. You can do this from Deir el-Bahari, or from Deir el-Medina. Be warned, it’s a hot and dusty hike!
There are organised day trips available too. These will take you to the Valley of the Kings as well as arranging access to the Tutankhamun tomb. Tours run from Luxor and Hurghada as well as other nearby locations.
Other things to see near the Tutankhamun tomb
While the tomb of the boy king is one of the most popular sites to see – the one on everybody’s bucket list – there is plenty else to have a look at nearby. Here are some of the best:
- The 64 other tombs at the Valley of the Kings
- Sunset river cruise
- The Colossi of Memnon
- Luxor Temple
Where should you stay
There are plenty of places to stay that will give you easy access to the Valley of the Kings and the Tutankhamun tomb. From apartments to hotels and hostels, you’ll be able to find something perfect for your needs…
For a bit of luxury, the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa is only a few miles away. With pool and spa facilities, free WiFi, a dedicated airport shuttle, bar & restaurant and free parking, the hotel has everything you could ever need for a relaxing stay that still allows you to be well located for visiting historical sites. They can cater to special dietary requirements, and guests can check in or out 24 hours a day.
If you’re after something a bit more low key, Villa Bahri offers two apartments just a couple of miles from the Valley of the Kings. There is free WiFi and public parking as well as your own kitchen, an outdoor pool, air conditioning and more.
For a budget hotel, check out the Pharaoh’s Hotel. Offering twin, double and triple rooms as well as a terrace for eating meals and an on-site bar, this hotel is popular with long-term travellers. The Valley of the Kings is just a 10 minute walk away, and free WiFi is offered alongside air conditioning and somewhere to do your laundry.
For a complete list of available accommodation options on your travel dates, use the map below.
So, there’s everything you need to know about visiting the Tutankhamun tomb – one of the most popular ancient Egyptian sites, you won’t regret ticking it off your bucket list.