One of the biggest sights in Ella is the 30-meter-high Nine Arch Bridge. After a 40-minute walk through the jungle, you will meet this incredible piece of architecture. It’s legal to walk on the bridge – and a cool place to snap some travel pictures and find vantage points overlooking tea plantations and palms. The Nine Arch Bridge is one of the things you must see when visiting Ella, as well as a thing you can’t miss when in Sri Lanka.
The big bridge is located between Ella and Demodara station. Especially the train ride from Kandy to Ella is known as one of the most scenic in the World. And after a visit to the Nine Arch Bridge, you will understand why.
How to get to the Nine Arch Bridge
When going to the Nine Arch Bridge from Ella town you have a few options.
The easiest way to get to the Nine Arch Bridge from Ella is by taking a tuk-tuk. This will cost you about 300 LKR. This way can be good if your time is limited or if you don’t want to do the walk from the city center. You can save time if you ask your chauffeur to drop you off by the tunnel. That way you can walk the last stretch before the Nine Arch Bridge.
Tip: Agree on a price beforehand. Some tuk-tuk drivers cheat or make a longer ride and therefore ask for more money.
The quickest way to the amazing bridge is to walk along the road to Little Adam’s Peak. When you see a small colorful temple, you turn left. After that, you should follow the small pathway to the Nine Arch Bridge. To make it easier you can follow this route on Google Maps.
The high road to the Nine Arch Bridge is to walk along the train tracks away from the town. After passing the tunnel you see the incredible Nine Arch Bridge.
Walk in the jungle to the Nine Arch Bridge. We would recommend you take this route either to or from the bridge. On this route, you walk in the jungle with sounds from monkeys in the distance. Walk along the main road of Ella till you meet road B113. If you use this guide on Google Maps you will get to a pathway where you can get into the jungle. From there you should follow the pathway through the jungle, down by stairs, and over overturned trees until you can catch glimpses of the Nine Arch Bridge. On your way, you will meet a vantage point and from there the way to the bridge is straightforward.
Whether you take the easiest, the high road, the quickest, or the jungle walk to the Nine Arch Bridge it’s a trip you can’t do wrong. Each walk has its advantages. We would recommend walking through the jungle to the bridge and then walking along the train tracks on the way back to the city (the high road).
Train timetable at the Nine Arch Bridge
The trains in Sri Lanka pass through the Nine Arch Bridge around 10 times a day. You may ask; Why do you say “around”? But don’t worry it’s not an error. The trains and their times are quite unstable in Sri Lanka. Therefore, you can never be sure whether a train drives on time. Because of that, it’s always a good idea to arrive at the Nine Arch Bridge sometime before the train time. As well as making enough time in your day-plan so you can see a train passing by. You can always ask the guards at the bridge to know when the train will pass.
So, the train passes through around 10 times a day. Few know the exact train times. On the trees in the area around the bridge, it was possible to see some timetables. Whether they were true is hard to tell. They weren’t precise when we visited the Nine Arch Bridge – but as said, you can never trust the train times in Sri Lanka. The time table we found on the trees were as follows:
|Morning train times||Afternoon train times|
Don’t worry if you arrive early or late at the bridge. The surroundings around the Nine Arch Bridge are amazing. So, grab your camera and make use of some extra time in the lush tea plantations.
A good time to visit the Nine Arch Bridge is around 9:00. Around this time there won’t be as many people as later in the day. By visiting early, you have the opportunity to visit Little Adam’s Peak afterward.
The history behind the Nine Arch Bridge
The Nine Arch Bridge in Ella has also been known as the Bridge in the Sky. The bridge was built under the British colonization of Sri Lanka. The name Bridge in the Sky came from the sight you see when standing underneath the bridge and looking up to the sky.
The bridge is unique with its 9 arches. But also, the use of materials is unique. The bridge is built with cement and brick. The bridge was built around 1912 and rumors are that it was supposed to be built in steel. But during World War One all steel was gathered for military purposes. Therefore, the Nine Arch Bridge was built in stone.
Best time to visit the Nine Arch Bridge
The best time to visit the Nine Arch Bridge in Ella is around sunrise. At this time, the light is magical and you can avoid crowds of people.
If getting up at sunrise seems impossible you have other options. You can visit the bridge around 8:00 to 9:00 before the crowds get too big.
And lastly, if you are a night owl you can visit the bridge at sunset. The crowds can be big because of the beautiful lights.