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Valley of the Kings, Luxor

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West Bank
Egypt's insider take:

These tombs tucked into the canyons of the west bank open at 6 am, which is a fine time to arrive, as the crowds and the oppressive heat (even in winter) only grow as the morning wears on. If crowds make you feel claustrophobic, and if you can take the heat, go at the midday lull when the tour groups are sitting down to lunch. Be prepared to stand in long lines to visit the most popular tombs, such as King Tut, Horemheb and Amenophis II. If you can't stand the wait or the crowds, it's best to head to the far end of the valley, where the tombs—such as the unusually deep tomb of Thutmosis III—attract fewer people, even though they are no less interesting. King Tut's tomb, uncompleted at his premature death, still contains the boy king's mummy lying in its gold casket (be aware that only 200 morning and 200 afternoon tickets are sold each day, and the government plans to close the tomb indefinitely for restoration in May 2008). Ramses VI (also an extra ticket) is worth it for the painted ceiling of the Goddess Nut swallowing the sun in the burial chamber. Of the valley's 31 major tombs, 18 are open to tourists on a rotational basis to shield fragile paintings and carvings from the impact of 7,000 daily visitors.

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