Nestled in a valley of 1,041m elevation, the town of Ella (known locally as Elle) is Sri Lanka’s most famous hill village. Surrounded by mountain ridges and tea plantations, it is the perfect place to rest and relax for a few days, whether you are coming from climbing Sigiriya Rock or about to go to surfing in Arugam Bay in the next days.
Being a popular destination, there is an abundance of affordable yet wonderful accommodations, even if you are on a backpacker budget you won’t be needing to go look for a dorm bed. After all, part of staying in Ella is being able to enjoy a cup of tea at the balcony of your rented room, surrounded by lush farmlands and mountain views.
I stayed in a family run guesthouse (Rivinu Holiday Resort), it is a bit of a walk from the downtown area of Ella, where you can get food and groceries, but for a place like Ella, a leisurely stroll is all you need to do, or what you actually must do.
Located in between the train station of Ella and Demodara, spanning a total length of 91m, with its nine beautiful arches, the colonial-era railway bridge surrounded by glorious tea plantations and mountain views is an architectural marvel indeed.
There are various hiking trails that will lead you to the bridge, and mostly depends on your accommodation location, though most visitors opted to take the trail coming from Little Adam’s Peak after a sunrise hike. I decided to do the opposite instead, and make seeing the Nine Arch Bridge as my first activity of the day and chosen to walk along the railway tracks starting from Ella Station. After riding the scenic Kandy to Ella train journey, walking at least a portion of its rail tracks makes the experience complete.
I considered walking along the railways tracks in Ella as the highlight of my visit. Blessed with a perfect weather, the walk is peaceful, and enjoyable, there is no shortage of the refreshing view. Along the way you will meet friendly locals, who will stop to smile and greet you, and as an added bonus, there are dogs who will follow you, serving as your volunteer guide.
But no matter which trail you decided to take, one thing to ensure is to time your visit to the Nine Arch Bridge in accordance to the train schedule. Trust me, the experience of seeing the train passing by the bridge, with people on-board waving and smiling at you makes the whole experience more fulfilling , never mind the gorgeous photos you will be coming home with.