Nestled among the forest and tea plantation at over 3000 m above sea level resides a picturesque man-made stone railway bridge. The work of art comprises 9 arches, and its name ‘Nine Arches Bridge’ comes from this feature. Besides marveling at the architecture, there’s a lot you can know about the bridge.
If you’re planning a visit to Nine Arches Bridge, this guide shares everything you need to know before planning the trip. The best time to visit, the various viewpoints at the site, places to eat nearby, and much more. Let us help you plan your trip such that you get the best out of it.
A Complete Guide To Nine Arches Bridge, Ella
Table Of Contents
- History Of 9 Arches Bridge
- Where Is The Nine Arches Bridge Located?
- How To Reach?
- Best Time To Visit
- Other Names Of 9 Arches Bridge
- The Best Viewpoints At Nine Arches Bridge
- Entry Fee
- Train Timings (When It Crosses The Bridge)
- Where To Stay?
- Where To Eat?
- Network Availability
- Parking Availability
- Restroom Facilities
- Important Points To Remember
- Related Posts
History Of 9 Arches Bridge
The Nine Arches Bridge was built by a Ceylonese builder, P. K. Appuhamy, and the villagers during the British Colonial era. Measuring 300 feet in length, 25 feet in width, and about 80 to 100 feet in height, this bridge was built only with cement and stone blocks. Since there was a lack of steel during World War I, no steel support was used to erect the structure, which has stood the test for 100+ years.
Where Is The Nine Arches Bridge Located?
The Nine Arches Bridge is located near Ella town, in-between the Ella and Demodara railway station.
How To Reach?
From Ella town, tuk-tuk drivers will ask you anywhere between LKR 1200 and LKR 2000 for a round trip, depending on your location. They will drop you beside the Nine Arches Bridge, from where you’ll need to walk to the site.
Instead of hiring a tuk-tuk and paying 1000s of LKR, you can simply walk to the site. A stroll from Ella Town to Nine Arches takes about 5 to 10 minutes as the distance is a meager 1 Km. The atmosphere here is calm and soothing, making your walk a pleasant experience.
After 1 Km, you’ll reach the parking entrance near Cafe Umbrella. You’ll see a direction board leading you to the Nine Arches Bridge, a stone’s throw away.
For the first few 100 m from the parking lot, the path will take you through a jungle of dense forests. You’ll be accompanied by chirping birds and crickets, thick green foliage, and dense thickets on either side of the path. Move further, and you’ll encounter a gurgling stream. Walk along, and soon you’ll find yourself amidst tall trees, some of which have fallen. Now besides the birds and insects, you’ll also hear the gentle sound of water flowing in the stream.
With a mix of steps and a visible route, keep walking until you reach the viewpoint board on your right. Get the first glimpse of the Nine Arches Bridge from the viewpoint. Then, climb down a flight of stairs to reach the Bridge you’ve been waiting to see.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Ella or the Nine Arches Bridge is between January and May when the weather is pleasant. From June to August, the weather is too hot. Between September and January, the monsoons go on in full force. Thus besides the early spring and winter seasons, other seasons are not ideal for you to thoroughly enjoy the place.
Other Names Of 9 Arches Bridge
Locally it is known as ‘Ahas Namaye Palama,’ meaning ‘Nine Sky Bridge’ in the native language of Sinhala. The place acquired this name due to what people see when they stand right underneath the bridge. Besides this, the Nine Arches Bridge is also known as ‘The Bridge in the Sky’ due to its majestic height. Another popular name for the site is ‘Stone Bridge Ella.’
The Best Viewpoints At Nine Arches Bridge
The best views of the Nine Arches Bridge can be observed from the points mentioned below. While some people choose to experience the place by traveling in a train that moves on the bridge, you don’t enjoy it completely because of its speed and constant state of motion. Therefore, we recommend you try the viewpoints below.
Cafe Soul Ella/ Asanka Cafe
Located at an elevation, you can enjoy snacks and cool drinks at Cafe Soul Ella and Asanka overlooking the Nine Arches Bridge. Your experience is enhanced with the view of the popular structure, and it is a sight you will not forget.
Viewpoint (Near The Hills)
As mentioned, if you come by foot, you will cross this viewpoint en route. If you come by a tuk-tuk stop just opposite the tuk-tuk stand. Cross the railway track and follow the visible path for about 50 m. Finally, you’ll reach the viewpoint board (on your left).
When we reached the point, there was no one present. However, a board mentioned the charges (LKR 50) to access this viewpoint. Therefore, if you come by an official, do the needful as the view is worth every penny you pay.
Cocinita Bar is a refreshment shop that sells fresh coconut and cool drinks. In addition, there are sit-out wooden benches where you can sit and watch trains crossing the Nine Arches Bridge.
From here, you can walk a few steps down into the tea plantation to get a good view from under the bridge. However, we strongly recommend not going below the bridge because it is infested with honey bees and their nests.
There is no entry fee for visiting the Nine Arches Bridge in Ella (Even for foreigners). So everyone can visit for FREE.
Train Timings (When It Crosses The Bridge)
|Badulla(Thu & Sat only)
Twin’s Tip: If the train goes towards Badulla, stand at the Cocinita Bar side. if the train goes towards Colombo, stand near the tuk-tuk station or the viewpoint (near the hills) for the best views.
Where To Stay?
There are a few properties overlooking the Nine Arch Bridge. Stay in them to watch the train passing through the bridge from your balcony. Below are a few of them.
- Nine Arch Homestay ($)
- Nine Arch Jungle Inn ($$)
- 9 Arch view rest inn ($$)
- Villa Nine Arch Ella ($$)
- New Cabin Ella ($$$)
Where To Eat?
Small vendors on either end of the bridge sell snacks, refreshment drinks, fresh coconut water, candies, and more for tourists visiting the stone bridge. The drinking water gets sold out quickly, so carry a water bottle.
You can also eat at Cafe Soul Ella and Asanka Cafe, which overlooks the bridge. Taste the drool-worthy delicacies in these places while enjoying the perfect view of the bridge.
The Nine Arches Bridge area has excellent connectivity with Dialog, SLTMobitel, and Airtel.
We didn’t find any restroom facilities in the region. However, you can utilize the cafes’ restrooms nearby if they have one. Otherwise, you’re dependent on nature.
Related: Use these super helpful public restroom tips during your travels.
Important Points To Remember
- When the train crosses, you can stand on one side of the railway track where the tuk-tuks stand is located. However, the other side of the railway track is small, and people cannot stand while the train passes.
- Police officials are seen when the train crosses the bridge to take care of the tourists.
- There is no indication or alarm to notify the trains arriving. Instead, you must listen to the sound of the trains’ horns.
- The place is maintained well and kept clean. So put the trash only in dedicated bins kept near the tuk-tuk stand.
- There are no restrictions for flying drones in the area. But be sensible about where to fly, as flying drones under the bridge disturbed the bees to a great extent. We heard about an incident where a swarm of bees escaped their honeycomb and attacked the tourists.\, a week before we visited. So to avoid such incidents, be mindful of your surroundings before flying the drone.
- If you opt to go for a short walk, be aware that there might be leeches during rain.
- There are no dress codes. As the bridge attracts many tourists from around the world, you can see people wearing Western clothes, shorts, etc. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in.
- A guide is not required to visit the Nine Arches Bridge. However, you can hire from Viator.com or GetYourGuide.com if you want one.
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