It’s astonishing to think that a bridge could drive tourists in droves to Ella, yet the Nine Arch Bridge, just outside the town, has done just that.
Verdant forests and tea plantations flank the Nine Arch Bridge, standing proudly across the valley below. On misty days, low cloud hangs in the valley, giving the whole area a moody, mystical feel.
Completed in 1921, the Nine Arch Bridge is built entirely out of brick, rock and cement, with no metal used in its construction – an engineering feat back in those days. Spanning 91 meters at a height of 24 feet, the bridge is on the famous Kandy to Bandarawela (via Ella) train line, with trains passing around five times a day, depending on the ever changing Sri Lankan train timetable.
Although train times are notoriously unreliable in Sri Lanka, trains tend to pass the Nine Arch Bridge around the following times: 9:30, 11:30, 15:30, 16:30, and 17:30
There are many places to view the bridge from, with the most popular being from the actual bridge itself, and below from the tea plantation (this is private land, so please ask for permission before entering).
However, for us, the best views are from above, either looking from the forests surrounding the bridge, or from one of the cafe platforms in the surrounding hills. Watching the train slowly make its way across the bridge is a wonderful sight.
Just get there early, as the Bridge and surrounding viewpoints fill up VERY quickly!