Our Day Trip to visit Nine Arch Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka

We experienced a fabulous day trip to visit the famous Nine Arch Bridge located in Demodara, Ella in Sri Lanka during June 2023.

Here we share our thoughts and experience of our day and hope that it will inspire you to visit this must do place to see in this paradise island.

About Us

Ru and I are a Sri Lankan-British couple that have been living in Sri Lanka for the last seven years. We live at GlenMyu Estate which is a 3 bedroom boutique hotel based near Beragala/Haputale in the Sri Lankan Hill Country. Nine Arch Bridge and Ella Town are around one house and fifteen minutes drive from the estate. This provides us with the opportunity to do day trips to visit some of the fantastic sights to visit in Sri Lanka.

Lots of our guests have hired a Tuk Tuk with a guide and taken a day trip to visit the sights in and around Ella Town. We thought it was about time that we did the same! So here is how our day went and a few tips on what to do when you visit this famous tourist site in Sri Lanka.

Normally we recommend that you leave early ....but!

Whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka I always recommend to our guests that they should visit the sights early in the day. There are many reasons to do this including:

Getting the best light for videos and photos.

To miss the crowds.

Avoiding the heat of the midday sun.

You can read more about why we recommend getting up early in Sri Lanka in our article “The 6 Best Reasons for Getting Up Early“.

As we were taking my wife’s parents we drove to Ella. It takes around one hour fifteen minutes to get to the town however we went on a few detours suggested by Google Directions which led to a few extra kilometres! 

We followed Google Directions to one of the start points to get to Nine Arch Bridge. Having parked outside a shop we would then need to hire Tuk Tuks to take the remaining kilometres to get to the bridge.

My wife decided to check with the Tuk Tuk driver who normally takes guests on a tour to Ella from GlenMyu Estate and he advised that we could go to another entrance and park quite near to Nine Arch Bridge. He said that the road was carpeted and it would be okay for me to drive the car.

So, off we went back out of Ella and to the alternative entrance point to Nine Arch Bridge.

Nine Arch Car Park is where we parked our car.

This is where you should go if you want to travel by Tuk Tuk to Nine Arch Bridge.

I get a little bit nervous!

Although I have been driving in Sri Lanka for several years now I pick and choose what roads I will drive on. Unfortunately this decision came about when my wife “encouraged” me to drive down a narrow road that I was not comfortable on. I managed to hit an edge and take out my tyre wall in the most inconvenient place to replace the tyre with the spare.

After that day, and the unwanted cost of a brand new tyre, I swore that I would not drive on narrow roads and it would be cheaper to hire a Tuk Tuk in future. 

I think that Sri Lankan drivers are much more courageous than I am when it comes down to tackling some of the terrain in the country. A Tuk Tuk is good for certain roads and I believe that by using them from time to time I am supporting a local business. I would rather relieve the stress and nervousness and hand over to someone else at particular times!

My experience still says hire a Tuk Tuk!

I feel that I have done a service to anyone that is considering driving a hire car or their own vehicle to visit Nine Arch Bridge. The road was carpeted and narrow and I did make it to the parking spot near the bridge enabling my in laws to walk the five minutes to see the bridge. 

However, I would not have enjoyed meeting another larger vehicle on this road. Therefore my hearty recommendation is that you drive to a point where you can park your car and take a Tuk Tuk for the rest of the way. I can hear Sri Lankan shouting at me that it is not necessary, but that’s my advice!

Here is the signboard on the route we took by car to visit Nine Arch Bridge.

We parked our car at this shop near to Nine Arch Bridge. It was only about a five minute walk from this point. There was a charge for parking however we were always going to buy something from the shop anyway. We thing that it’s just right to purchase something and have a chat to support the business.

We had some tea and corn on the cob which had been heated on a wood fired pan.

Approaching Nine Arch Bridge

Here is a video that I took as I reached the bridge.

We arrived around midday and therefore there were lots of local and foreign tourists waiting for the train.

At popular tourist attractions - get there early!

This is the second time we have visited Nine Arch Bridge.The first was many years ago when there were not as many tourists around and we did get there a little earlier in the day. We trekked a bit to get to the bridge and it was really nice having a chat with some other tourists whilst we awaited the train.

Several years on and Nine Arch Bridge has become a really popular tourist destination and a must see when you are in the area. 

I have read lots of blogs about when to visit the bridge and getting there for sunrise looks like something special to do. Even if you are staying in Ella you will have to get up pretty early to catch this sight.

Here is a video by Lucie who enjoyed the peace and tranquility of seeing Nine Arch Bridge really early in the morning.

It was still exciting to see the Nine Arch Bridge later in the day.

Although we were later than planned and there were lots of people waiting to see the train, it was still a really great experience.

It’s amazing that so many tourists that come from countries that have lots of trains and lots of bridges rush to see this sight. However, the history of the bridge, the beauty of the arches and the pace of the train make it a really enjoyable experience. 

Here comes the train!

I really enjoyed the atmosphere created by all the people waiting for the train to come. The noise of the train, the beautiful backdrop and the people on the carriages made it all worthwhile.


Make sure that you know when the trains are due.

One major benefit of getting a Tuk Tuk to Nine Arch Bridge is that they will know when you need to be there to ensure that you see a train. It’s worth the cost of the hire. Trains in Sri Lanka don’t run on time very often and these Tuk Tuk drivers have ways to find out when a train will be crossing the bridge.

Would we recommend visiting Nine Arch Bridge?

We had a really good time and interesting day getting to Nine Arch Bridge and seeing the train cross the bridge filled with passengers.  

At GlenMyu we normally plan a day trip to Ella for our guests to see Nine Arch Bridge along with one or two other sights.

There are lots of other activates to do a see around Ella which are worth a visit. On our day trip we also visited Ravana Waterfall which is a distance outside Ella Town. You can read about our experience at Ravana Waterfall at the following article. 

Here are some more videos I shot on our day trip.

What else is there to see and do around Ella?

There are lots to see and do around Ella and we would suggest picking two or three things that you are interested in.

Ella Rock
Little Adam’s Peak

Ravana Falls
Ellawala Waterfall

Tea and Spices
Ella Tea Factory
Ella Spice Garden 

Ravana’s Cave
Dowa Rock Temple

Food and Drink
There are lots of places to eat, drink and people watch in Ella’s main street.

Here are a few to try:
Cafe Chill
Rainbow Cafe
The Barn
Mandala Cafe & Bar

Please do a little research before you visit.

We would always recommend doing a little bit of reading before you visit the sights in Sri Lanka as it amazing what you will learn. 

Did you know that there is a rumour that there was no steel used in the construction of Nine Arch Bridge as the steel that was to be used was redeployed as it was needed for material used in the war in Europe.

The bridge was completed in 1921.

If you visit Ravana Waterfall we would recommend that you read about Ravana.

The importance of reading something more about the places you plan to visit before you get there hit me on one of my early trips to the Island.

On our visit to Sigiriya Lion Rock we were amazed that there was effectively plumbing around 400 AD creating fountains in the Kings palace.

When we visited the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy I really knew very little about Buddhism. Fortunately we hired a guide for the tour who was able to “enlighten me” a little and it made the tour much more real.

Why stay at GlenMyu Estate Hotel and not in Ella?

Well, it’s all a matter of preference. If you are looking to stay in a less touristy place then GlenMyu Estate may well be the place for you. We think that there are lots of people that really enjoy staying in and around Ella Town and enjoying the nightlife and being closer to the tourist sights. However, we have had lots of guests stay with us a GlenMyu Estate who have found Ella too touristy and being able to do a day trip and getting back to our little piece of paradise suits them well.

What is at GlenMyu Estate?

GlenMyu Estate – Summary

3 Kingsize Double Bedrooms with Spectacular Views

2 Spacious Lounges with views over the hills below the house

A Natural Spring-Fed Infinity Swimming Pool

5 Acres of land to explore

Delicious bespoke meals freshly prepared by the host

A selection of places to dine

A place to relax and be closer to nature

Within reach of the following tourist sites

GlenMyu Estate is listed on Booking.com and Airbnb. You can also contacts directly for our best rates.

GlenMyu Estate
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