Ultimate Guide to Nine Arches Bridge: Travel & Photography Tips

This blog post features links and information which have been obtained on a press trip. However, as always, all opinions shared in this post are my own.

Nine Arches Bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Ella, Sri Lanka. Thousands of people visit this bridge every single day.

Known for its architectural beauty and scenic surroundings, it has become a must-visit spot for tourists and photography enthusiasts alike.

How to Get to Nine Arch Bridge

Nine Arch Bridge is located between Ella and Demodara train stations. Since there are no hotels in Demodara, most tourists visiting the Nine Arch Bridge come from Ella.

There are two ways to travel the 4km from Ella town to Nine Arch Bridge:

  1. Walking
  2. Tuk-tuk

The most popular hike from Ella to Nine Arch Bridge starts at V3F4+2G Ambagollapathana. This route and some other less popular routes are marked on all popular trail mobile apps.

It’s roughly a 15-minute walk from Ella Town to V3F4+2G Ambagollapathana – you can get a tuk-tuk here.

It’s then a further 20 – 30 minutes from V3F4+2G Ambagollapathana to Nine Arch Bridge. This walking path is well marked and travelled but still in the jungle. As such, pack plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing. 

If you have limited mobility or are short on time, you can also take a tuk-tuk from Ella to Nine Arch Bridge.

Most drivers on Pick Me or in Ella town will offer to drop you off at the car park at V3G6+X5W, Badulla. From here, it’s a 250m walk to Nine Arch Bridge.

Alternatively, take a tuk-tuk from Ella to V3M3+X4 Demodara. From here, you can transfer into another tuk-tuk that will take you directly to Nine Arch Bridge. The tuk-tuk waits 30 minutes for you and costs 1,500 rupees for a round trip.

The prices I quote may seem higher than those shared online by other sites. Due to Sri Lanka’s economic situation, the cost of taxis and tuk-tuks has increased dramatically in recent months and years. 

I consistently found the prices shared online to be much lower than what I experienced on my trip in April 2024. That’s true both on the Pick Me app and when getting quotes from drivers in person.

Photographing Nine Arch Bridge

Thousands of people visit the Nine Arch Bridge every day. Therefore, if you want the best photos, you’ll need to be there at or just before sunrise. This is not only a great time because there are fewer people but also because the lighting is much better.

I recently took a guided group tour around Sri Lanka. We arrived at Nine Arch Bridge at around 10am. The lighting was already harsh, and hundreds of people were there. By the time we left at 10:45am, it was even busier. If it had been up to me, I’d have been there at 7am at the latest.

Of course, when you arrive at Nine Arch Bridge isn’t the only thing you’ll want to consider. You’ll also want to think about where you want to take photos from. 

The most popular spot, and the spot from which I’ve taken the photo below, is from this spot. You can go further left, right, up and down into the tea fields to get the desired angle.

You can also walk along the train tracks at Nine Arch Bridge; this is another excellent shot, especially if it’s quiet.

There are some photo spots at the back of the bridge (see here). However, due to the curve, I don’t find these to be anywhere near as powerful as the front.

Drones are not permitted at Nine Arch Bridge. Any drone photos you see online are either:

  1. Travelling with the Sri Lanka Tourism Board and the appropriate permit.
  2. Have been taken before the rule around drones was introduced.

I don’t have a drone (anymore, RIP.) However, I was travelling with a group of writers and two reps from the Sri Lanka Tourism Board who had a permit for us.

Within seconds, a drone was in the air. We were approached by guards, so it seems this rule is heavily enforced.

Taking the Train Across Nine Arch Bridge

Nine Arch Bridge is an operational train bridge. This means trains come across the bridge several times a day.

If you want to take the train across Nine Arch Bridge, you have two options:

  1. Ella to Kandy
  2. Calypso Tourist Train

The Ella to Kandy train is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. It’s the blue train where you’ll see photos of people hanging off the side. While it is beautiful, the reality is it’s also hot sweaty and takes between 6 and 8 hours.

As I was on a guided tour of Sri Lanka, I opted to take the newly launched Calypso tourist train instead. The carriages aren’t quite as Instagrammable, but the route is significantly more practical.

I boarded the train at Ella station and took it to Demodara. The journey took just 39 minutes, including a 10-minute stop at the Nine Arch Bridge. You can return to Ella via train or use the Pick Me app to get a tuk-tuk back instead. 

The Sri Lanka Railways website provides up-to-date train times for all trains in Sri Lanka. This is an excellent resource for taking the train and photographing trains on the bridge, as times can vary.


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