The Nine Arch Bridge in Ella is one of the most iconic spots in Sri Lanka, and rightly so. Here’s everything you need to know when visiting.
The Nine Arch Bridge is located in Ella, a town high in the mountainous region of Sri Lanka.
Standing at an elevation of 1,041 metres above sea level, Ella Town is located right in the centre of the island, and the Nine Arch Bridge is not so far from the main street.
There are 3 general ways to reach the Nine Arch Bridge:
To walk from Ella town it takes roughly 1 hour, and the best option is to keep a version of google maps open at all times.
You’ll pass many guest-houses with signs pointing you in the right direction, and the locals will be more than happy to help you if you get lost.
One thing’s for sure though, it’s certainly an easier trek than Ella Rock.
By Tuk Tuk:
The easiest option is to get a tuk tuk from town, directly to the Nine Arch Bridge.
It will cost you around 200 Rupees, and will take roughly 15 minutes.
Some of the best days out we’ve had in Sri Lanka have been on private tours.
For the Nine Arch Bridge there are a couple of options with reputable company Ella Day Tours:
Little Adam’s Peak and Nine Arch Bridge (Half Day Tour )
Ella Rock & 9 Arch Bridge, Little Adams Peak with Transfer (Full Day Tour)
Both tours include hotel pickup and drop off, tuk tuk transport, and water bottles.
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
There is no entrance fee to Nine Arch Bridge as it’s a public bridge.
As the bridge is an active train line it is accessible at all times, however we don’t recommend visiting outside of daylight hours.
As with any tourist attraction, the best time to visit Nine Arch Bridge in Ella is first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds. The earlier the better!
However the best time to visit Nine Arch Bridge depends on what you want to see.
If you’re looking for an empty bridge with less people, then certainly sunrise is the best option.
Although, if you’re looking to see the famous train pass over the Nine Arch Bridge in Ella, then you’ll have to be a little more specific.
Trains pass over the bridge at the following times:
These scheduled times are very rough, and a lot of the time the train can be late.
WHAT TO PACK
DSLR Camera: Canon EOS 90D
Tripod: Zomei Z666 Tripod
Day Bag: Manfrotto Manhattan Mover-50
Sunscreen: Banana Boat Sunscreen SPF-50
Reusable Water Bottle: Hydro Flask Water Bottle
Rain Jacket: Columbia Lightweight Rain Jacket
Nine Arch Bridge History
The Nine Arch Bridge in Ella is one of the most photographed spots in the country, and is rightly one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic attractions.
Built by the British in 1921, the bridge was originally supposed to be constructed using steel.
However not long after the bridge had been commissioned, WWI broke out and the steel allocated to the bridge was redirected to Britain’s front line.
A team of Sri Lankan engineers and builders completed the job using blocks of stone and cement. To this day, the 91m long, 24m high bridge stands entirely without steel support.
Located deep in the jungle, its name ‘Nine Arch Bridge’ comes from the nine impressive arches that are a part of its construction.
Surrounded by tea plantations, this destination is one of the most picturesque places we visited in Sri Lanka and we couldn’t put our cameras down once we arrived!
What To Expect At The Nine Arch Bridge
Arriving at Nine Arch Bridge in Ella you’ll likely be greeted by a few locals selling coconuts. However, from our experience they weren’t very pushy and generally just wanted to chat to the tourists.
The view of the bridge is awesome from both sides. So take your time to explore the area but please keep your wits about you.
For an extra special moment, try to plan your trip around the train time tables.
Trains are supposed to pass over the bridge at 9:30am, 11:30am, 3:30pm, 4:30pm and 5:30pm. However the scheduled times for the famous Sri Lankan train journey are very rough, and a lot of the time it can be late.
When we visited, we didn’t have any luck as we arrived just after 11:30am!
The day was still a great adventure though. We recommend taking plenty of water and wearing sensible shoes!
Overall a tourist spot that lives up to all expectations. More than 100 years on from its build date, the Nine Arch Bridge still stands firm, giving the passengers inside the train and visitors standing at the location, both a spectacular experience.
Luxury – Ella Planters Bungalow
Offering an outdoor swimming pool, Planters Bunglow is an boutique style eco friendly property located in Ella.
Free WiFi access is available in the public areas of the property.
Each room provides a seating area and work desk. Private bathroom comes with a shower and free toiletries. You can enjoy garden view from the room.
At Planters Bunglow you will find a garden and barbecue facilities, grocery deliveries, water sports facilities, cooking classes and meeting facilities. The property offers free parking.
Mid-Budget – Morning Dew Hotel
Morning Dew Hotel provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge.
550 yards from Ella Spice Garden and 1.8 miles from Little Adam’s Peak, the property features a garden and a terrace.
The accommodation offers a shared kitchen, room service and currency exchange for guests.
Guest rooms at the hotel come with a seating area, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and a bidet.
The units will also provide guests with a desk and a kettle. Morning Dew Hotel offers a continental or à la carte breakfast.
Backpacker – Ella – Hangover Hostels Ella
Situated in Ella and with Demodara Nine Arch Bridge reachable within 1.6 miles, Hangover Hostels Ella offers a tour desk, rooms, a shared lounge, free WiFi throughout the property and a garden.
The property is around 200 yards from Ella Spice Garden, 2.5 km from Little Adam’s Peak and 2.2 miles from Ella Rock.
The accommodation features evening entertainment and a shared kitchen.
All rooms at the hostel come with a seating area, a private bathroom and a bidet.
For more places to stay in Ella, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.