Phra Nang Cave Shrine: Iconic Railay Beach

May 29, 2023
cave of wooden carved penis

Found on the iconic shores of Krabi in Thailand. The Phra Nang Cave Shrine stands as a testament to the region’s rich cultural and natural wonders.

During our recent island holiday to the South of Thailand, Railay Beach was on our bucket list.  The iconic Railay Peninsula is a true hidden gem that offers a unique blend of spirituality, breathtaking landscapes, and a touch of mystique. Allow me to share this memorable journey, while exploring the enchanting beauty and cultural significance of the Phra Nang Cave Shrine.

To begin with, you can only get to this beach by boat, from Ao Nang Beach.  You can go on a speedboat packed with other tourists. Or you can hire a longboat for a day. We decided on the latter as we wanted to spend more time snorkeling and chilling!  And I didn’t feel like being in a nightclub on the water!  Most speedboats in that area, have music that pumps non-stop, for the farangs who of course like to get drunk and misbehave. Railey Beach is a beautiful.

The Legend of the Princess Goddess:

The Phra Nang Cave Shrine is not merely a place of worship. It’s steeped in local legends and folklore. It is said that the shrine is dedicated to the spirit of the drowned princess goddess, Phra Nang. Legend has it that Phra Nang, the wife of a fisherman, met her demise at sea. To seek protection and ensure a bountiful catch, local fishermen have been leaving offerings at the cave shrine for centuries. Come to think about it, it’s not harmful and very kind.

Upon arriving at the shrine, visitors are greeted by a cave adorned with colourful offerings, wooden phallic symbols (Lingams), and intricate figurines. Creating a mesmerizing, and spiritually charged atmosphere. The Lingams are representative of male energy and fertility. Reflecting the cave’s connection to local fertility rites. As a Westerner, coming across a cave full of wooden-sized dildos is quite comical.  But out of respect one needs to be mindful and respectful. My husband ran away, he couldn’t handle the embarrassment of his wife walking around taking photographs of the contents of the cave.

The devotees and many curious travellers alike often leave offerings at the Phra Nang Cave Shrine. As a gesture of respect to the goddess. These offerings may include flowers, incense, and even carved wooden phalluses. Consequently, the cave becomes a kaleidoscope of colours. Creating a sacred space that resonates with the energy of centuries-old rituals.

Krabi in Thailand, the Phra Nang Cave Shrine

Exploring Surrounding Beaches:

The Phra Nang Cave Shrine is undoubtedly a highlight. However, there is so much more you can do.  Watch the harrowing rock climbing.  Exploring the pristine beaches, and snorkeling in the warm seas.  I was in awe for hours watching men and women rock climbing up rock faces. A few times I buried my head into my hands, waiting for the fall.  But, despite my anxiety, they all conquered the top, with the whole beach cheering on. I had a really fun day, it’s a vibe and I would recommend you spend a few hours in this area.  Phra Nang Beach, Railay Beach West, and East Railay Beach offer white sands, clear waters, and the opportunity to witness the dramatic karst formations that define the region.  I can also recommend you get there as early as possible, to avoid the maddening crowds.

Since the Phra Nang Cave Shrine is not just a cultural site. It’s a testament to the spiritual richness of Krabi’s landscape. In the same way, it’s a unique blend of folklore, spirituality, and natural beauty. Thus, making this a must-visit destination for those seeking a deeper connection with Thailand’s cultural tapestry.

I believe when traveling to other countries full of cultures and religions that are not necessarily mine, it’s important to learn and respect each other.  Firstly, we all need to share this beautiful Earth. Hence we all need to be tolerant.  And, if it’s not hurting you, or another human then learn to observe and move on.  After all, I truly believe the more you expose your mind to the world the more wiser you become.

So, whether you’re an adventure seeker or a cultural enthusiast. Most importantly, if you are traveling anywhere in that heat. Keep hydrated, put layers of 50-factor sunblock, and explore as much as you can.

The magic of the Phra Nang Cave Shrine goes beyond the typical tourist trail, I can promise you! It might even give you happy times ahead.

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