I just went on vacation in Egypt, and took one of the days to visit the various Pyramids that dot the landscape in northern Egypt. In the process, I found that there are a few unexpected tips I wish I'd had before visiting, and thought I'd share them with readers who may be interested in seeing the Pyramids as well!

First, it's a good time to go to Egypt. Yes, I wrote "good." There are certain regions to avoid - notably Siwa Oasis, Sinai, and really any area not densely populated or touristy - but I didn't notice any problems in any of the places I visited. There are, however, less than half the normal tourist numbers and some of even the most famous spots are totally empty, so its definitely the time to go. Not to mention, everything is dirt cheap right now: both because they have dropped prices to lure in those tourists who are here, and because of the weakness of the Egyptian pound. A good full multi-course meal at a nice local restaurant will run you a bit under $10 right now.

Now, for the Pyramids:

1)      The Giza Pyramids are a must see, but they are actually the least pleasant pyramid experience.

Look, you can't go to Egypt, and to the Pyramids especially, without seeing the Great Pyramid of Khufu. It's the first - and only remaining - ancient Western Wonder of the World and its truly awe inspiring. But its also a pretty unpleasant experience in many ways. There are hordes of local tourist beggars, with animals in very poor shape, who will accost and harass you at every turn (and saying "No" does very little, you just have to walk past and ignore). The whole area also smells quite strongly of animal dung, and is, even in these less touristy times, very crowded.

2)      The large Pyramid at Dashur is actually the nicest.

Dashur is a bit further - its south of Saqqara, which is itself south of Giza, but its worth the extra 20 minutes in the car. The largest pyramid there is quite colossal and you will have it to yourself - when I was there, there was one other British couple and one guard. That's it: just you and the beauty of the Pyramid and the silence.

3)      The Step Pyramid of Djoser is the most interesting

The Giza Pyramids are the largest, but in many ways, Djoser's Pyramid at Saqqara is the most historically notable and overlooked. First off, it's the world's oldest truly colossal monument - anywhere. Djoser built the first Pyramid but because the Egyptians hadn't fully mastered the art yet, the sides are not smoothed over. So, when you see it, it helps your brain really comprehend how the Egyptians built such incredible monuments less than a thousand years after they discovered writing.