Enjoy the stunning beauty of Phra Nang Beach
Phra Nang Beach is one of the top wonders Railay Beach has to offer, and when you see it you’ll know exactly what we mean. Almost completely devoid of industry, the beach remains untouched save for the lavish Rayavadee Resort. Its pristine, white sand is the softest you’ll find, and the swimming conditions unparalleled. In the water, you can swim to a large karst that stands a stone’s throw from the shore. The crescent-shape of the beach means that you can explore the rocky outcroppings on either side while the sun shines down upon you. Sounds perfect, right? It is, and Phra Nang Beach has got a few other surprises as well. On the southeast end of the beach sits a cave, and though the cave itself is rather small, it’s got some special qualities. Legend has it that an Indian princess was shipwrecked here, and her ghost continues to haunt the cave. Another story tells of a fisherman’s wife who watched her husband set sail, never to return, and lived out the rest of her days alone. Either way, the cave is revered for the princess goddess who resides under the cliff, in a spectacular example of how Thai Buddhism is intermingled with Hinduism and Animism. Offerings are given to the goddess to bless trips to sea, and fertility symbols are left here to ensure the goddess is honoured. One can almost see the inspiration, looking around at the giant limestone karsts that make this area so famous.
The spiritual energy here makes sense that they would be correlated with the sacred symbol of the lingam. The Hindu symbol of the lingam is representative of the god Shiva, associated with fertility and virility. Here at the Phra Nang Cave, you can find hundreds of carved wooden phalluses. Legend tells that the phalluses were left here in sacred ritual by locals and fisherman in honour of the princess. They are truly a sight to behold, and though some travelers don’t quite know what to make of the cave, it is asked that you respect its holy sanctuary, and take only photos. Beyond the cave you can find a small, shallow cove that is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, made extra inviting by the presence of a large overhanging cliff.
With so many wonders in one spot, you won’t want to miss a visit to Phra Nang while you’re on Railay Beach. Be warned, though, the area is usually packed with tourists and doesn’t have any amenities, so go early, there are usually a number of long tail boats which have been retrofitted to act as mobile restaurants so you can often find cheap local food to have a snack on the beach. You can access the beach from Railay East by walking southwest down the foot path. Leave yourself some extra time to explore the smaller caves along the way and secure your belongings, because there’s a good chance you’ll see monkeys!