Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jejak al-Misr 3: Valley of the Kings and Colossi of Memnon

King Tut( not King of kentut okay!) foto from internet

Luxor( al-Aqsa)
foto Hafiz Nokia N73

Luxor. Its actual name during the Ancient Egypt is Thebes(Greek word). When the Muslims came to Egypt, it was called al-Aqsar in Arabic. By native Egyptian lingo the al- is not pronounces as al- like we Malaysian do but with a silent alif(a), so its was pronounced as 'l-Aqsar. When the Europeans(Brits and French) colonised Egypt and started to explore the land al-Aqsar became Luxor,as per-European spelling.

Luxor is in Upper Egypt(southern) and one of the most famous open museum in the world,with its ancient monuments,temples,tombs and relics. If you have the time and patience just check it out here and here too.

Written in the stone
foto tokasid Nokia 3110c

As Muhamad had told us, our bus headed to the west bank of Nile in Luxor.From Luxor City(East bank of Nile) we went to Qena to take the bridge to get across the Nile to West bank. Our destinations is Valley of the Kings(VOK), the Alabaster factory and Colossi of Memnon.
The ride was a pleasant one. Plots of farming lands and villages dotted the west bank. We see farmers with their children working on these farms. Vegetables,sugar canes and bananas were everywhere.Everything is green from the river bank upto 500m- 1000m. Then its just desert and rocky hills beyond that. And there are long canals parallel to the Nile to irrigate the land.

After about 30 minutes we arrived at the Theban Hills with several villages at its foot. Villages which have alabaster(marble) as its cottage industry. As it is already in desert area it was dusty. You can see sand dust on the walls and roof of these houses.

After another 2km our bus took a road which took us towards the Theban Hills. Towards the Valley of the Kings ,the necropolis(City of the dead) here.

Valley of the Kings
foto tokasid BQ

VOK is a site where the tombs of Pharoah are. It is a huge burial site where the Pharoahs of the 18th Dynasty -20th Dynasty were buried( mummified) for their eternal life. Historically ,the first pharoah to be buried in VOK was Thutmose I. The VOK was choosen and built by Ineni, Thutmose I's advisor.

The VOK is different from the pyramids. During the Old Kingdom, most of the pharoah tombs are built as pyramids and mastaba. During the old kingdom the kings had their goverment in Lower Egypt(north) with Heliopolis and Memphis(Minf) as capital( thats Cairo now). Thats the reason we see pyramids are abundant in Lower Egypt.

With the New Kingdom the power centre shifted t upper Egypt(Thebes) after Upper and lower Egypt were unified. On the west bank of the Nile in Thebes, the Theban Hills had a peak which resembles the pyramid peak( al-Qurn or ta dehent in ancient Egypt lingo). Ineni opted for Theban Hills for that.And the site was secluded and far which will avoid grave robbers (the royals and rakyats were mainly on the east bank in those days and yes they do have grave robbers in those days too)). With that, VOK became the site of pharoahs final resting place. There are a total of 63 tombs in VOK and the most famous was that of King Tut Akhn Amun or as the world call him King Tut. ( Now do not think he was called that as in King of kenTut)

al-Qurn(ta dehent), the peak of Theben Hills
foto tokasid BQ

Now back to the trip, our bus climbed for about 1 km before we arrived at the VOK information centre. The sun was very bright and glaring but the the weather cold. We followed Muhammad into the VOK infocentre. He kept on yelling " PARLO! PARLO!"( Thats our tourgroup's name) ,asking us to gather around a model of the VOK.

VOK information centre
foto Hafiz Nokia N73

The VOK model is at the centre of the main hall. It depicits the VOK above and below ground. The above ground is shaped like the valley and with roads and colored pins were pinned to numbers corresponding the the kings' tombs. The lower part of the model shows the tombs, which way they were dug and how deep and long they are.

Model of VOK( VOK Info centre)
foto Hafiz Nokia N73

(model taken at split level. The lower part which appered jutting downwards depicits the tombs depth,lenght and direction into the Theban Hills)

There were lots of posters on the infocentre's walls with pics of the tombs in VOK .
Another PARLO!PARLO! from Muhammad we went out where buggy train were ready to take us to the entrance of VOK proper. 10 minutes and we were in front of the entrance(and ticket booth). Muhammad bought the tickets for us, at 70 Eygptian pounds each where you can enter the VOK and 3 tombs of your choice( if one wants to enter King Tut's tomb, one need to buy another ticket worth 80 EP)

Buggy ride into VOK
foto tokasid BQ

Ticket for VOK( enter 3 tombs)
foto tokasid BQ

With only 2 hours allocated for the VOK, and the fact that most of King Tut's treasures are in the Cairo Museum none of us bought the Tut's ticket.

A long walk into VOK with al-Qurn above
foto tokasid BQ

We walked into the VOK,lead by Muhammad.Angel will always be the last to make sure none of us are left behind or got lost in the tombs. In a big shed Muhammad explained to us about the history of VOK and who are the few famous pharoahs that are buried here. And he recommended to us the tombs (3) for us to go into and he highly recommended the tomb of Ramses IV for it is among the big tomb and the most beautiful with lots of carved murals and Herioglyphic writings. Another was Thutmose III where we would have to climb(stairs) for about 15m before descending underground for another 10m(2 level tomb) for about 50m in distance.Thutmose III's tomb is steep with the steps at 70 degree slant.It was very hot like a furnace.But it was worth all the trouble.No regrets going in there.

The third one which we(my family) took was that of Ramses III. It was the nearest to the shed and a small one,but with lots of colored carving murals and paintings. I did snapped a few photos with my Nokia( no kind of photography is allowed in the tombs or pyramids. If caught your camera will be confiscated and the authority can charge you).

At each tomb's entrance there will be a man maning the tomb and checking for your tickets(to make sure you do not enter more than 3 tombs of your choice). And maybe there will be another person inside who somethimes volunteer to become a guide and when you wanted to go out he'll ask for tips! And sometimes he will offer to snap your family photo using your camera at the entrance. You say thank you to him and he will put his palm open and say: Tip!Tip!.
So, nothing is free. We don't usually give because we have paid everything including tipping.

Climbing to Thutmoses III
foto tokasid BQ
(our biggest challenge is not climbing this 15m stairway but coming down from it later. It was so 'gayat')

Thutmose II..going down entrance
foto tokasid BQ

(after climbing 15m, we need to go down 10m for about 30m which is very steep at 70 degree slope. It was so warm inside more like a furnace, but it was worth the trouble)

King Tut's tomb
foto tokasid BQ

(didn't go in for lack of time)

At almost 3 pm, Muhammad gathered us and made head counts( you don't wanna leave anyone to sleep with Ramseses or Thutmoseses or Setis).The buggytrain took us back to VOK Infocentre. To get to our bus, we have to pass by the mini bazaar. This is where problem of hassling started. Muhammad had warned us to be careful and if possible play dumb with the stallowners or workers. If we need to buy anything bargain well and make sure you are familiar with the currency.

As we passed through it, we were tugged and pulled and coaxed into stalls by traders to buy their merchandies. We now know what to expect in future bazaars or souks in Luxor,Aswan and Cairo.

We then stopped by an alabaster cottage industry( later entry for this) before heading to the
Colossi of Memnon , here.

Colossi of Memnon was built by King Amenhotep III( of the 18th dynasty).Built as a mortuary temple in Thebes that was guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains now are the 23 meter (75 ft) high, one thousand ton statues of Amenhotep III. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive.

Colossi of Memnon( with Hafiz)
foto tokasid BQ

Statue Amenhotep III
foto tokasid BQ

There were few buses loaded with tourist at the site. It was a magnificient sight. After a stick of Gudang, we headed back to Luxor City to check in into the hotel. Most of us needed the rest. And Muhammad promised to take us for an Egyptian dinner. Hopefully by then we will be able to break the ice among ourselves.

There are other site on west bank which we didn't go for time constraint like the Valley of the Queen,Tombs of the Nobles,Temple of Hatshepsut and Malkata.

I was tired but wasn't sleepy at all. There were so many things to see,to experience, to smell ,to taste. I know I'm gonna love Egypt and what it has to offer.

Next: Alabaster and food and food....

Kandungan posting mungkin ada kena mengena atau tidak dengan makhluk yang hidup atau yang telah tiada.Kalau sapa-sapa terasa nak buat macamana kan. Sapa makan cabai melaka dia pedaih laa


Kata Tak Nak said...

Very engaging read, very steep in history. As I was reading this it crossed my mind that this is how history is to be thought. No I am not implying that all students go to Egypt but modern technology could easily bring Egypt, China, India, Old Malacca, Majapahit Empire and whatever, to the students. What is needed is the will and of course the financing by the Education Ministry.

What if you were in one corner enjoying your Gudang and there was a tap on your shoulder, "Got a light mate"? You turned around and there stood Tut with an unlighted Camel hanging from his mummified lips. grinning. Then he added, "Hey, I walked a mile for this dude".

Raden Galoh said...

Salam bro...been following your story (terasa macam sy pun pi Mesir la)...

Glad you include the historical connection of the places, as I lack those knowledge...You are better than my Sejarah teacher la...

P/s: I'm still waiting for your story about that belly dancing you know...errmmm jauh lagi ke nak sampai bab tu? Hehehe

tokasid said...


Yes,history lessons need to be told like a story or a movie. I remember in form 1, my history teacher taught us Sejarah Negara China with Shis Huang Ti, he made it like a story from a kung fu movie and like it so much that I loved history to these days.And because of how he told it, I was a fanatic with kung fu movies and swordplay movies. Not the one of Bruce Lee films but that of period epic like the one done by Shaw Brothers and the films by mainland directors of recent years.

I don't mind if King Tut did that to me.He was harmless. But I don't think I want Ramses II to come and tap me.No way! Look how he treated Nabi Musa a.s.!

tokasid said...

Sis Raden:

This is baru the first day of our tour per-se in Egypt. We still have Aswan,Abu Simbel,Kom Ombo,Edfu,Luxor again, the belly dance, the train travel,Cairo and its pyramids and Sphinx and Alexandria.And the foods....

Sabar ye sis..

As for the belly dance, I remember A Rahim in Ali baba Bujang Lapok( he was wearing like the Japanese soldier).In the night club during the penyamun's outing he teased Brahim Pendek with: " Watashi...gelek la..gelek la..."
And the final scene when P Ramlee sang in the house, the pemyamuns stand up in their tempayans to do the tarian gelek.And who can forget Busra's chest and belly!!

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

pictures galore!

Egypt is simply stunning. i mean, look at the photos, they're just magnificent and nothing beats taking them with your own camera. according to you the weather was cold, that made it even a more pleasant trip to the Valleys.

and thanks for the info doc. and like casablanca, i always wondered all these while the name Luxor doesnt sound very islamic, do they? now i know why larr...

*doc, were there any camels roaming around the streets?

tokasid said...


I have been to few other places like Jogja, Bali and Beijing. All are wonderful to tourist.
But Egypt was simply stunning. Maybe its because we covered border to border(Abu Simbel to Alex). Beijing was okay but the setback(to me) was most of the interesting places(except the Great Wall) smack right in the middle of Beijing,one of the most busy cities in the world. Apart from Cairo, the other places in Egypt is relax and that to me is a plus point.

But tourist destinations in developing countries, you have to be prepared to bargain and bargain to avoid getting 'potong kepala' in their bazaars or markets. If you buy anything at face value,sure kena con.

Camel roaming the roads? No, just roaming the tourist hotspots. But horse carriages and donkeys(in villages) are like seeing kapchais in our roads.

Next entry: food pics for you bro.

blackpurple @ jowopinter said...

Salam doc,

I really enjoy your story doc. No wonder my gf 'sungguh gila' with books and stories about ancient egypt and egyptology. Hehehe.

Thanks for sharing with us, doc.

[Mana gambar belly dancing doc :D]

tokasid said...

Salam WakPinter:

Wak sudah pulang dari berkelana ya?Alhamdulillah.

Saya pun kalau pasal sejarah2 ni suka. Saya ada koleksi buku2 ttg zaman silam negeri China.Ada buku ttg last emperor dan empress dowager dan autobiografi Mao Tze Tung.

Sejak balik dari Mesir selalu dok baca ttg zaman Ancient Egypt.

Gambar tarian gelek...sabar ya Wak!!

Akmal said...

Doc, how are you? Those were nice pictures you've taken at the necropolis. Thanks for sharing. So far, I've only read about pharaohs, watch Jejak Rasuls, documentaries, did some research, never experience the pyramid, sphynx, whatsoever right in front of my eye. Egypt is in the list of places I'd love to visit.Keep well, take care.

tokasid said...


Egyptis should be on ppl's list to visit.

And being able to see face-to-face with Ramses II, the Fir'aun during Nabi Musa a.s. time, and dalam hati dok curse him. That Fir'aun laknatullah is kept in the mummy room of Cairo museum along with several other pharoahs.And you get to 'maki' him for his cruelty and arrogance of claiming himself god.

For me the pyramids are symbols of arrogance.It serve no purpose except to house a dead person. (But now it is generating income to Egypt.Ironic isn't it?)

If you have done your Haj or Umrah, then Egypt should be the next place to go.

cakapaje said...

Salam Doc,

Wow! But reading the entry ticket for the tombs at 70EP, that's what, RM300 at least! Was it included in the tour price already or something extra?

KAMATO said...

enjoy your story, thanks for sharing

Azian Hasan said...

Doc TA,
Another round of stirring read. Cuma one question since I'm really bad with history.
In your reply to Akmal, you mention that Ramses 11 was the firaun zaman Nabi Musa and his remain is now kept in Cairo Musuem. Jadi had yang mati lemas kat Laut Merah tu firaun yang mana pulak ya? Ker this question will be answered in future episodes..

Mior Azhar said...

Tok Doc:
Saja nak tanyaaaa... how far is it Luxor to Cairo? And hang tak jet lag ker? If it was me, sure I'll be sleeping away .. I'm really bad when crossing time zones nih.
And your tales are getting more thrilling. more more and more.
Satu lagi King Tut ni famous pasai apa ya? Selalu dengaq nama nih tapi tak tau lar pulak pasai apa.

tokasid said...


70 Egyptian pound is like RM40.00 je.
1EP is about 60 sen duit kita.That was included in the package.Kalau nak masuk King Tut's tomb baru kita beli tiket lain-80EP.

tokasid said...


TQ InsyaALLAH more stories and phtos soon.

tokasid said...

Azian hassan:

TQ for visiting.

Many beleived that Ramses II was the fir'aun mentioned in the Qur'an and Bible due to the time of his kinghod.

Yes he died at the red-seaIf I remember crrectly from several ustaz , when he died and the sea and his body was washed to shore. The remainder of his army took his body back for burial.
And according to Egyptologist, he is the second Pharoah who pronounced that he is god. The first was pharoah Cheops who built the Great Pyramid as his burial ground in Giza.

tokasid said...

Pak Mior:

Luxor to Cairo is about 700km.We took the night train(sleeping cabin) at 8pm and arrived at 6am in Giza station.

King Tut is famous bcoz his tomb was the last to be found at VOK. His tomb was the most undisturbed of all the tombs,most probably the grave robbers didn't find it earlier like the other tombs.King Tut's tomb had the most treasure and relics and most are displayed in Cairo Museum.
As a king he was unremarkable.He assumed the kingdom at the age of 8-9 years old and died at the age of 18-19.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...


china's quite an interesting destination too. easy to find food for muslim travelers. but lets not take the spotlight away from egypt shall we?

over to you, doc.

Mat Salo said...

Bravo! Entertaining read, Pak Doc. Unfortunately I'm in a poor mood so your story lifted me up a bit. Apa? Me nak jadi smuggler? Ha-ha, boleh smuggle interesting 5000 year artifacts out of Egypt ke Pak Doc?

Actually I'm just jealous. I've always wanted to visit that place as it has always intrigued me. One day, one day.. Insya'Allah.

Looking forward to more of your encounter with Maha Firauns!

Zabs said...

Salam Doc.,
Satu penceritaan yang amat baik. Gambar2 juga diambil dari sudut menarik. Sayang Doc. ambil gambar hafiz saje. Sesekali tentu ada gambar bersama mem kan?
Good story telling is to keep to the last, the best part of the adventure.
So, semua peminat belly dancers kena tunggu lagilah! Tak gitu Doc.? Semoga kisah ini, cepat di sambung lagi!

IBU said...

Salam Tok,

Lama dok baca in silence. But when u wrote about Egypt...ohhhh syioknya!! I ohhhh-soooo-want-to-go-there la... My eldest, 11 yr old abg idin is also into Egypt now. He has been reading about mummies, tombs, sphynx, tutankhamun. But errr... so far he hasn't read me about belly dancers yet. LOL! I'll make sure he comes here & read ur post.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Tokasid
Overseas, I always make it a point to take small change with me when I go out of the hotel. Tipping is big business everywhere. You tip, you get good service. If you don't, they can make life a living hell for you. Well, not all the time.
You've polluted Egypt with your Gudang Garam, eh? Did you try their apple-flavoured shisha? Nothing can compared with the Gudang Garam, kan?

tokasid said...


China too is very interesting.Rich with history.Wouldn't mind going there again.But now I have to tell about Egypt first.

tokasid said...

Pak MS:

yeah, why not you and me smuggle out the Great Pyramid in Giza?

Nothing to jealous of bro. One day, you will take your entourage to Egypt.But make sure its not during summer. December would ne a nice time,their summer and our school hols.

tokasid said...

Pak Zabs:

Hafiz did take mt photo in one of the tombs at Giza. Its the 3 small pyramids beside the Great pyramid which they say belong to Cheops ladies.

I'll lok for it a put in a posting soon,but its dark and Hafiz was with his N73.

All visitors are not allowed to take any photos in all the pyramids.You can take anywhere outside.Tapi benda yg dilarang lah yang lagi kita nak buat kan?

tokasid said...


kalau nak pergi dgn family tunggu anak2 besar sikit, biar mereka ingat dan faham apa yg mereka lihat. Dan bila dah besar sikit tak banyak sangat songeh dan rajuk mereka kan?

Abg iddin suka about Egypt eh? Thats nice. When he sees the tombs and temples and the museum, he'll correlate with what he read.

tokasid said...


you are right.If you go overseas tiping is a culture.The problem with us Malaysians is we are not used to tipping.I remember in Aswan there was a commotionbtwn someone in our group with a local horse carriage driver. It was ugly when the local Aswani sort of make a little boy(6 years old) a 'hostage' to get a tip.And he wanted a tip for his horse too!!Thats too much. My driver got a fat US5 from me which is about 26.5 Egyptian pound and he was Alhamdulillah all the way home.
Malaysian, as stingy as it gets were told all the tips are included in the fares, so many said why should we tip more?

But you are right, once you tip them, they become your best friend. Even a stick of Gudang Garam to them and you are their buddy.

Tried the Apple shisha...but G garam is the best!

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