Get away from the crowds with our pick of some underrated gems in Egypt's ancient valley

Despite the recent closure of many tombs and temples on Egypt's West Bank, there are still dozens of sites to explore.

Yet many visitors head for just a handful of well-known tombs and temples where they end up sweatily pressed nose to tail, jostling down humid corridors, unable to spend time admiring the ornate artwork.

But there are many places where the crowds are non-existent and you can immerse yourself fully in the ancient history surrounding you.

We've picked out five less-frequented but unmissable sights on the West Bank.

Tomb of Monthuhirkhopshef

Ramses IX's son was seemingly buried in a hurry judging by his unfinished tomb. Yet there was time to adorn the walls with some fine paintings including life-size reliefs of several gods in the entrance corridor.

Tomb of Ay

Off the beaten track in Biban el-Gurun (the Western Valley), this tomb housed Tutankhamun's far less famous successor. This was in fact meant to be King Tut's final resting place but his sudden demise meant he was hastily buried in the Valley of the Kings. Notable for its depictions of Ay hunting, and 12 baboons representing the 12 hours of the night. You can buy entry tickets at the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.

Tombs of the Nobles

Much less patronised than the tombs of the pharaohs and their queens and, unlike the rulers' final resting places, meant to be accessed after death. The tombs are divided into groups covered by separate tickets and it's worth deciding in advance which you want to visit. The paintings in these tombs are particularly vivid.

Temple of Seti I

Not to be confused with the same ruler's temple at Abydos, which is also a relatively hidden gem. Completed by Seti's son Ramses II following his death, this temple has borne the brunt of the flash flooding that periodically afflicts the area. Yet peer beyond the ruins of the court and you'll discover some beautifully detailed reliefs. It's also the earliest known example of a palace inside a temple.

Medinet Habu

The temple of Ramses III was inspired by his father's Ramesseum but is far less crowded. Its impressive gate is modelled on one Ramses observed on a fortress in Syria, while reliefs on the outer walls illustrate the pharoah's victories over the Libyans. Get there early; it's usually the last stop on most group itineraries.