Where to Shoot and Where to Sleep in Ella, Sri Lanka
One of the most photographed sites in Sri Lanka, Nine Arch Bridge is located in the sleepy highland town of Ella, between Ella station and Demodara station. It is a major draw for tourists and Instagrammers alike. It’s not hard to see why its so popular, the Nine Arch Bridge is 24 meters high and built in a distinct colonial style with nine impressive stone arches that are surrounded by lush jungle and tea fields.
When to Shoot
If you get up early enough, you’ll catch the beautiful morning mist that envelopes the bridge and railway tracks. Dreamy and mysterious, the mist will give your insta photos that bit of extra drama. When it comes to best times to shoot, the early bird, gets the worm. We stayed very close to the Nine Arch Bridge and started walking for sunrise and arrived to shoot about 6am. We had about an hour with the bridge, all to ourselves. By 8am, it was quite busy.
The Vantage Points
On the Tracks
Make sure to capture the tracks of Ella bridge as your first perspective. This shot will be hardest to get later in the morning when people start arriving. For something a little different, head inside the tunnel itself.
From the Forest
On the side of the railway tracks with the tunnel, you’ll see a cafe. Trek a little down through the jungle, and you’ll find a beautiful lower perspective, looking out to the dramatic arches of the bridge.
From the Tea Fields
Probably the most well known angle, the tea fields on the opposite side of the track to the tunnel offer a sweeping view of the bridge. Walk down into the tea fields, theres many beautiful perspectives from here that you can shoot.
From a Distance
If you continue walking along the railway tracks, in the opposite direction to the tunnel, you’ll eventually see a narrow worn path, leading up through bushes and tea fields. The climb up will only take a few minutes, but from above you’ll see the sweeping views of the Nine Arches Bridge from a distance.
From Asanka Cafe
When you’re satisfied with your photos from the bridge, head to Asanka Cafe, just a short walk up the hill from the railway tracks. From here, you can catch the train passing over the bridge. Make sure to buy a little something from the cafe if you do! Read below for train times.
Below are the times that trains are coming in and out of Ella. Coordinate your shoot around them, depending on what perspective you want to get. We chose to photograph the blue train from Asanka Cafe as it rolled through at 9.23am. Please bear in mind that trains are often delayed, a little and a lot, so get yourself comfortable while waiting for that perfect moment.
From Ella to Kandy: 06.39am, 09.23am, 10.56am, 12.04pm
From Kandy to Ella: 1.24pm, 3.14pm, 5.27pm, 6.22pm
Where to Stay in Ella, Sri Lanka
As Nine Arch Bridge is a little outside of Ella town, we wanted to stay somewhere as close as possible to the bridge. We used booking.com to find an apartment within walking distance. Knowing we wanted to arrive ahead of tourists, we chose to book The Cabin, Ella. This quirky and cute apartment has the best view, and proximity to the Nine Arch bridge you can get. I can’t tell you how much we loved waking up here in the morning, seeing this beautiful view, and the sight of the trains rolling along it. Highly recommend.
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Article written in collaboration with Booking.com. All thoughts are my own.