Nine Arch Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka - Our Guide.

As you travel around this paradise island and make your way towards Ella, the majestic sight of Nine Arch Bridge may end up being one of your most memorable experiences.

This 100+ year old bridge is in situated in the most beautiful setting abutted by tea fields and with the lush jungle as the background.

Nine Arch Bridge is in a stunning spot and, if you happen to time your visit when a train goes over the bridge, it will be a very special experience.

A stunning spot.

A visit to Nine Arch Bridge has become one of the main tourist attractions of Sri Lanka. If you combine your visit with a trip to see one of the other amazing sights close to Ella will make it a very special day. You will savour the amazing natural scenery at Nine Arch Bridge along with perhaps a hike to Little Adams Peak or Ella Rock.

There are also several other sights to see in and around Ella and it is a great place to visit on a day trip from GlenMyu Estate.

How to get there.

You will have a choice of various different options on how to get to Nine Arch Bridge including travelling over it on the train itself.

Taking the famous blue train, which travels at a slow speed, will enable you to enjoy the view of the Sri Lankan Countryside. There are lots of Instagram photos of passengers sitting on the steps enjoying the scenery. The more adventurous hang out of the door to get that, now so common, Instragram pose.

 

Take care!

Of course this is dangerous, despite the slow sipped of the train, so it’s not something we would recommend.

Surely there are enough of those photo shots now – we would recommend that you consider something more original!

The most popular journey takes you from Kandy to Ella which is around a 6 hour journey (providing the train is not late!). However you could consider taking the super pretty part of the journey from Nuwara Eliya (Nanuoya Rail Station) to Ella which will cut your train journey down to a more palatable 2 hours 27 minutes (or 2 hours 18 minutes for the faster train).

Train Tickets - where are they?

Sri Lankan Railways launched an online portal to purchase train tickets last year.

So why are there no tickets available when I tried to book online? 

Well, I cannot really say however I have my own conspiracy theory of course!

Several guests have contacted me looking for tickets. I have been to Haputale Railway station and they have advised that the seats are all sold out several weeks in advance. 

I hope that you are lucky enough to purchase these disappearing tickets online in advance however this will continue to get more difficult as more and more tourists visit Sri Lanka.

What we advise our guests.

We have advised our guests who are making there way to Kandy to enquire at their hotel there to source tickets (with seats!) for them. A premium will have to be paid (surprise surprise!) however this has worked for some guests. 

If you cannot bear the idea of a 6 hour (or more) journey standing up then another option is to make your way to Nuwara Eliya. Hopefully some passengers will have disembarked from the train and you may then get a seat (fingers crossed).

Other ways to get to Nine Arch Bridge

Reaching Nine Arch ridge is most easily accessible from Ella and you will probably need some transport unless you are really into hiking!

Our Day Trip from GlenMyu Estate to Nine Arch Bridge

In June 2023 we did a day trip from GlenMyu Estate, Beragala, to visit Nine Arch Bridge.

We got to the bridge at around midday and were very happy that we managed to see a train cross over the bridge.

You can read about our trip in the following article “Our day trip to Nine Arch Bridge“. 

How to get to Nine Arch Bridge, Ella

There are multiple options and ways to get to the Nine Arch train bridge.

The starting point to the bridge is quite close to Ella’s main street, so you can decide if you want to walk or get a Tuk Tuk.

Perhaps you have rented a scooter or motorbike which will get you there on your own.

Other options to get there.

Tuk Tuk from Ella Town

You can take a tuk-tuk from Ella town to the Nine Arch Bridge parking spot, then hike the remaining 5-10 minutes on foot, which was the quickest and easiest option.

On foot

Another option is that you can walk to Nine Arch Bridge by following the Ella-Passara Road, turning left at Sri Kanaser Temple (where all the street food stalls are) and following the signs past multiple guesthouses until you arrive at the bridge.

When you decide to walk, it takes about 20 minutes to get there. You have to follow the road towards Little Adam’s Peak and turn left at the small colored temple. Then follow Lake Front Cottage on Google Maps.

By car –  park and walk.

If you have hired a car you can drive part of the way and then walk from a parking spot or hire a Tuk Tuk to take you to the bridge.

As we live in Sri Lanka and have our own car we drove and parked which left just around a 5 minute walk to the bridge. There was a small parking fee charged at the shop for our parking (around 50 rupees).  

However we also had a snack (warm corn on the cob) and a cup of tea when we returned to the car after visiting Nine Arch Bridge.

How we drove to Nine Arch Bridge

Before we arrived at Ella Tunnel and Ella Town we took a left hand turn down the Ella Halpe Road and followed Google Maps to the location of the parking spot.

It was a challenging road to drive and I wish we had taken a Tuk Tuk!

We drove to “Nine Arch Bridge Car Park” which is B on google maps (see the location on the right). 

 

The shop where we parked.

After we had seen the train we needed some refreshment and enjoyed sone tea and hot corn on the cob from a small shop near the parking spot.

Would I recommend driving to Nine Arch Bridge?

Although I have lived and driven in Sri Lanka for several years I would recommend choosing an alternative transport to get to Nine Arch Bridge. 

The roads are quite narrow going to Nine Arch Bridge and really it’s much more suitable to hire a Tuk Tuk or go by foot.

You have to be quite brave to navigate the small lanes and hope that you do not meet another vehicle on the route.

Our guests at GlenMyu Estate normally hire a Tuk Tuk with a guide for the day and it it a much more relaxing experience. 

Best time to visit the Nine Arch Bridge

This really depends on what your aim is. Do you want to visit when there are few other visitors there? Do you want to see the sunrise or sunset? Do you want the buzz of the crowns waiting to see the train cross the bridge?

It’s all about what you would like to see.

Read more about why you should get up early.

Our advice would be to visit early in the morning.

You can read about why we recommend getting up early in Sri Lanka in the following article “The 6 best reasons to wake up early“.

Of course with sunrise or sunset is the best time to take pictures. The light is soft and warm, and you avoid the crowds.

By 9 am and during the rest of the day, it is busier with tourists paying a visit to this famous spot.

Train Times at Nine Arch Bridge.

The trains pass the bridge about 5 times a day (12 on the schedule I found at Sri Lanka Trains). However the exact times change all the time because the trains are quiet often delayed in Sri Lanka. But usually there should be one every hour. You can check the train schedule here.

If you miss the train don’t worry as there are some small cafes where you can get a snack and a drink near the bridge. The Bridge is quite pretty even in the absence of a train so you will still be able to get some beautiful pictures.

Our best advice is to ask a Tuk Tuk driver what time the train is due – they appear to have the inside knowledge.

Nine Arch Bridge viewpoint

The viewpoint of Nine Arch Bridge is also really worth considering a visit.

There are actually three points where you have to check the bridge and take photos.

From below in the tea fields, walking on the rails of the bridge and from the viewpoint.

Why stay at GlenMyu Estate?

Although GlenMyu Estate is just over an hour away from Ella and Nine Arch Bridge we have found that lots of our guests enjoy staying outside of the busy tourist town of Ella.

Ella is a great place for travellers who want to enjoy the buzz of a lively evening with lots of other like minded tourists. However, Ella is far from what Sri Lanka is really about and many tourist like to stay in a place which is quieter and feels closer to nature.

We only have three bedrooms at GlenMyu Estate so it is more of a bespoke service. Ru lived in the UK for many years and therefore is able to cater for a western palette and adjusts the level of spice accordingly.

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb. You can contact us directly on the WhatsApp button on our website to ask about the best direct rates.

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