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A selfie at Nine Arch Bridge, Demodara, Ella, Sri Lanka

Nine Arch Bridge, Ella

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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A selfie at Nine Arch Bridge, Demodara, Ella, Sri Lanka

Our Day Trip to Nine Arch Bridge

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.

Hiking
Ella Rock
Little Adam’s Peak

Waterfalls
Ravana Falls
Ellawala Waterfall

Tea and Spices
Ella Tea Factory
Ella Spice Garden 

Cultural
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.

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