Best of Ancient Egypt Pyramids [Photos]

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Sunny day at the Great Pyramid of Giza - Lily Leung

Sunny day at the Great Pyramid of Giza.

I usually don’t take day tours to monuments if I can go alone, since I can learn quite a bit just from reading Wikitravel, Wikipedia or Lonely Planet guides.

The exceptions I’ve made are with world wonders, like the Taj Mahal in India and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, where I want to hear context behind their significance.

Since the Pyramids of Giza was a must-see on my Egypt trip plan, I was really excited about my GetYourGuide.com tour covering the ancient Egypt highlights in Cairo:

  • Egyptian Museum – home to King Tutankhamun’s tomb and famous 11kg gold mask (no photos allowed)
  • Pyramids of Giza – 3 major pyramids, including the tallest “Great Pyramid”, built ~2500 BC, ~137m high, tallest structure in the world until 1300 AD., the oldest & only existing Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  • Great Sphinx of Giza – body of a lion, head of a human, ~20m high, limestone, believed to be from ~2500 BC

But first… a guide who’s not scared of using a DSLR!

Getting good photos of myself is one of the hardest tasks I’ve experienced as a solo traveller. It’s easy to take hand-held self-portraits, but asking a stranger to take a photo of me with my surroundings, is usually a miss.

People seem scared of my Canon DSLR camera, don’t compose the photo well or don’t hold the camera steady. Even with people who are carrying a Canon DSLR themselves, it often turns out they’re only newly acquainted with this type of camera.

So on this exciting day of fulfilling a childhood dream of seeing the Pyramids, I was ecstatic when I discovered that Fadi, one of the Egypt Excursions Online staff, wasn’t scared of using my DSLR. He took extra photos without me having to ask, and when I requested that he took a picture in a different way, he was kind enough to try again (and again). As a mini tribute to my guide, I’ve included a picture of him among my photos below.

Enjoy!
For more photos, see my Facebook album.

Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

Egyptian Museum, Cairo. From the garden (no photos allowed inside).

Egypt Excursions Online tour guide

Fadi, my tour guide, who helped take photos for me at the Pyramids.

Pyramids and Great Sphinx, Giza

Approaching the Great Pyramid of Giza, right after the entrance

Approaching the Great Pyramid of Giza, right after the entrance.

View of Great Pyramid from the bottom

View of Great Pyramid from the bottom. Can you spot me in the pink shirt, near the bottom left?

On a camel at the Pyramids

On a camel at the Pyramids. Hard to tell from the angle, but the Great Pyramid is quite tall (140m, ~30 floors)

Getting close to the camel

Getting close to the camel, who seems to be leaning away.

The Great Sphinx of Giza at sunset

The Great Sphinx of Giza at sunset. It's about 20m high (~5 floors)

The Great Sphinx and 3 pyramids in the background at sunset

The Great Sphinx and the 3 pyramids in the background at sunset.

The day tour of the museum, Pyramids and Sphinx were as good as I expected and I can’t think of a better way to have spent my first day in Egypt.

I learned a digestible amount of history about the Old, Middle and New Kingdoms in Egypt (20 dynasties) including the most well-known pharaohs, and not only did I realize the childhood dream of seeing the this world wonder, I even have good pictures of myself there thanks to the tour staff. For more photos, see my Facebook album.

>> Is the Pyramids of Giza on your bucket list too? Do you agree that the Egypt Excursions Online staff did a good job of taking photos for me?! :D

My visit today was sponsored by GetYourGuide.com and Egypt Excursions Online, but all opinions are my own. Thanks to Hostelbookers for arranging my accommodations in Cairo (see my review of Bella Luna Hotel).

Subscribe to Explore for a Year email updates, tweet me on twitter.com/lilyleung, or say hi on my wall Facebook.com/ExploreforaYear. Talk to you soon!


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  • http://www.knok.com/knoleskine/ Anji

    I find the pyramids extremely intriguing! Have always wanted to visit Egypt and learn about their ancient culture! :) 
    I actually did get a chance to ride on a camel once! The scariest part is having to climb on it! when it suddenly stands up you feel you might fall! But extremely fun experience! :)

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Anji,

      I’ve found them intriguing for a long time too, since I was a kid to be exact :) Good to hear you enjoyed your camel experience, you sound much more composed than I was when I went on the camel for the first time. I kept thinking about whether my travel insurance covers camel riding accidents the entire time I was on the camel, haha.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      – Lily

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  • http://profiles.google.com/tazimd Tazim Damji

    I’d like to go to Egypt, for sure. Like you, I don’t typically like guided tours—but for places that are hard to get to and transportation may be hard to arrange, I don’t mind so much. Yes, you did luck out with those 2 great photos of you. . .I like the candid one with the camel leaning away.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Tazim,

      Egypt was a great experience – I thought the Pyramids was the main thing to see there, but there’s a lot more to experience than I expected, like the desert and the Red Sea. I love that camel photo too, he’s leaning away like the way people lean away when their personal space is invaded, haha.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      – Lily

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  • http://twitter.com/swgraphic Sarah Wu

    wow amazing pictures and stories. LOL I especially love the one camel is leaning away. so cute and funny.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Sarah,

      I love that photo. Camels seem pretty well-tempered, so I actually felt safe leaning towards him. I’d be scared to get that close if it was a horse or a bull!

      – Lily

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  • http://www.walkflypinoy.com paul | walkflypinoy

    funny that that was also your concern. i guess it proves true for many solo travelers. it’s a hit and miss when you ask people to take your picture in front of famous monuments. i do not have a good picture with the taj behind me. bummer really. nice though that you were able to find someone who knows cameras and even DSLRs. :)

  • http://twitter.com/grachececilio Graciel Cecilio

    Looks awesome! Haven’t been but I want to go so badly to Cairo and Luxor. Jealous!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Graciel,

      The Pyramids are definitely worth going if you get the chance. I also loved Luxor and Dahab (which on the Red Sea) too – but don’t worry, I’ll keep you updated with photos ;)

      – Lily

  • http://alotofwind.com Robin

    I loved the pyramids – now get yourself into a taxi for the real Cairo experience!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hahaha! Where should I tell the taxi driver to take me? ;D

      – Lily

  • Anonymous

    what an amazing experience!!!  did it meet your expectations??!! I’d love to visit it some day!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Jen,

      It did meet my expectations and there were far less tourists than I expected which is always a huge plus for photographs ;) If you have the opportunity to go, I’d highly recommend it, what privilege to see the oldest ancient world wonder.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      – Lily

  • http://www.blog.france.co.nz John in France

    Is that pyramid in the middle of the desert, or on the edge of a city? For me a guide leaves a guide book for dead!!!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi John,

      The Pyramids of Giza (there’s 3 of them, the one in the photo is the “Great Pyramid”) are in Giza which is a city, but it’s also in the desert. Here’s a Wikipedia article if you’re interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza_Necropolis

      What a privilege it would be to have these Pyramids right next to your town!

      – Lily

  • Anonymous

    I know what you mean about the perk of getting guides to help with taking photos. I was in Costa Rica and my guide was a whiz with the digital camera. I have had the camera over a year, and he taught me how to use it. Great pics.

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Ted,

      Come to think of it, I think it’s more important for a guide to know how to take photographs than for them to know history. The history I can always look up on Wikipedia, but you only get a few chances with the photos! So what camera did your guide teach you to use? ;)

      – Lily

      • Anonymous

        It was just a basic Nikon cool pix. When I zoomed in I could never get
        it to focus. He showed me that to focus when in zoom you have to hold
        down on the shutter until it becomes clear. I guess I should really read
        my camera manuals when I buy them :)

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  • http://quirkytravelguy.com Scott – Quirky Travel Guy

    This is at the top of my bucket list. It looks like you had a great experience… I love the camel pic!

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Scott,

      I’d highly recommend a stop at the Pyramids, if you have the opportunity. They look far more impressive and imposing in person than what I imagined from looking at photos. Good luck with your bucket list, and hope you cross it off soon ;) 

      Thanks for stopping by!

      – Lily

  • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

    Oh memories of Giza. We rode that same camel! At least it was wearing the same colorful decor. Funny, we posted our story of Egypt yesterday too. :)  I so wish we could’ve brought our cameras in the Egyptian museum. Although if people could do that, it would take forever to get through all the exhibits. 

    • http://exploreforayear.com Lily

      Hi Gerard,

      I wished we could take photos in the museum too. I usually sneak in photographs even in prohibited places with my iPhone, but I was with a guide so I didn’t want to try ;) 

      Thanks for stopping by!
      – Lily

  • http://twitter.com/thecloud_people Jamie Davy

    we have a similar outlook on using guides. when we want to learn some history or something we are all over it, but otherwise we freestyle. the pyramids look amazing, doesnt matter how many photos i see! cant wait to go there someday.

  • Maple Leung

    Love the DSLR story – it made me laugh but I’m also glad you managed to get some good portraits! My fave pic is the one where you’re the little dot in the bottom left corner on the pyramid… Sometimes it’s hard to capture the sizes of things but that one captured it very well :D

  • Inka

    Lovely photos Lily and very kind of you to pay tribute to your helpful guide. So few people know how to say thank you.

  • Peng Leong1

    Cool! enjoy your Egypt trip!

  • Peng Leong1

    Wow ! Amazing Pyramids!