Railay Beach is one of the most impressive beach towns in Thailand. Known by many for it’s secluded allure, stunning beaches, world-renowned climbing, and hippy party scene, Railay has quickly become one of the most instagrammed locations in Thailand. Lots of people are drawn here for one thing or another, but back in the day… it was a mystical sea princess that was doing most of the alluring. This mystical sea princess just so happens to live in a cave full of penises on Phra Nang Beach.
The Phra Nang Princess
So why is there a cave full of penises in Railay? It all started with a mystical sea princess- the Phra Nang Princess. She resides in a cave on the east side of Railay Beach beneath incredible stalactite overhangs that protrude over the sea. Legend holds that Thai fishermen would bring their wishes and prayers to the sea princess before embarking on their fishing trips. She would in turn protect them from danger and give them great success at sea. If their wishes were granted, the fishermen would return to the Phra Nang Princess with an offering.
Offerings would typically include flowers, jewels, ribbons, candles, and of course- penises. Why, you may ask. Well, this princess was not only important to fishermen but also to people suffering from infertility troubles. This is where all the phallic sculptures come into play. Hand crafted phallic images and wooden sculptures relating to fertility crowd the cave. Based on the number of objects alone, it is clear that the Phra Nang Princess is quite good at her job.
The phallic sculpture is known as a “lingam” in Thailand. Lingams are generally carved from wood. Locals believe the lingam can create fertility and prosperity for the entire world if left at the cave of the Phra Nang Princess. Of course, the discovery of Railay Beach has left the Princess Cave as more of a tourist attraction than anything else. There are signs warning tourists to respect the site and only leave appropriate offerings for the Princess. There are still some local fishermen who stop here to pay their respect and pray for good fortune particularly during festivals and holidays. If you wish to leave your own offering, there is a list of rules at the entrance to the first cave.
The rules state, the Phra Nang Princess will bless you with pure love among friends, lovers and nature if you follow three basic actions. 1. You will refrain from causing pollution in the world. 2. You will not harm nature. 3. If you see any harm to nature you will immediately attempt to get rid of it. To pray to the Phra Nang Princess the sign recommends you use eight green incense sticks which represent the eight principles of the righteous.
How to Get To Phra Nang Beach
The Princess Cave is located on Phra Nang Beach. From Railay Beach East, walk along the jungle lined path until the end. You will pass by a rambunctious family of monkeys and the path up towards the viewpoint and lagoon on your right. After a quick 10 minutes, the path will open to a white sand beach. At the far end of the beach, you will find the Princess Cave. The Princess Cave is actually two caves. One only holds phallic sculptures, incense, flowers, and other offerings. The other (referred to as the inner cave) has a trail that leads into the limestone cliffs to a small hidden pool. The path is laden with clay mud, but if you are interested in seeing the inside of a limestone cave, this is a great place to explore.