Phra Nang Cave Beach (Ao Nang)

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Phra Nang cave beach in Krabi, Thailand

Striking Sundown View at Phra Nang Cave Beach, Krabi

Phra Nang Cave Beach or so-call Phra Nang Beach, a stunning beautiful beach is ranked one of the world most beautiful beaches and the 5th most beautiful beach in Asia by TripAdvisor in 2013. The charming beach highlighted with an insignificant cave, a sacred location followed to the local legend about the love story which has been told from generation to generation. Moreover, Phra Nang Beach is one of the most exciting sites for the rock climbing with the training courses. The beach features the visitors with the super soft white sand beach, crystal-like blue sea, and the abundant nature resources. This may cause by its location that is accessible by boat only so the place is protected from external interference like others.

About the Phra Nang Beach

beautiful sand beach at Koh Phi Phi island in Krabi, Ao Nang, Thailand

Phra Nang Cave Beach or Phra Nang Beach is a charismatic seashore with the limestone mountain and high cliff as the background. The duvet-touch sandy beach and clear water here lures many tourists both Thai and foreigners to visits the place in particular during the daytime. Phra Nang Beach is ideal sea site for water playing and beach activities including rock climbing, sunbathing, kayaking, sunset watching, beach volleyball & football, and more. And it is one of the landmark for the rock climbers together with the East Railey Beach and Nam Mao Beach as the challenging and striking rock climbing spot to check in once in the lifetime.

The Phra Nang Beach’s location is 3 km estimate from Ao Nang and adjacent to the Railey Beach. The beach, although stands on the land but is inaccessible by the land transportation since the towering limestone mountain and lush forest separate the location from the land. So that, it is accessible by boat only.

Four Islands Tour

beautiful limestone Ao Phra Nang Beach in Krabi

Phra Nang Beach is under the administration of Ao Nang district in Krabi province. It is one of the checkpoints in the touring program called “Four Islands Tour” which is including to Ko Poda, Ko Thab (the Separated Sea), Ko Kai, and Phra Nang Cave Beach. Specifically, Phra Nang Cave Beach is the highlight of the sea travel in Krabi. The highlighted location needs to walk through the end of the beach where the Phra Nang Cave situates. Followed by the folk legend noted that the cave is the dwelling of the female sacred spirit that praises from the local fishermen.

In the daytime, the place is so vibrant with the tourists from all directions including the tourists who take the public boat service from Ao Nang Boat Service Co-Operative, the Tour package of the Separated Sea-Poda islands- Phra Nang Cave Beach, and the tourists who walk from the Railey Beach. Nevertheless, the area in the evening turns to somewhere with tranquil and peaceful environment because the tourists gradually depart from the beach.

It is prohibited for any shop or food stall at Phra Nang Beach, therefore, the villagers carry foods and drinks by boat to sell at the location. So, we can see the food boats are lining along the coast to serve an array of food and drink – snack, beverage, and grab and go food, however the price is quite high.

Fabulous Sundown Scene at Phra Nang Cave Beach

Phra Nang Cave in twilight

The Bay of Phra Nang Cave faces to the west so there are the tourists who stay in the accommodations at the Railey Beach – Phra Nang Beach sit and wait at the area to witness the sundown. And as mentioned above that Phra Nang Cave Beach is another best viewpoint to spot the sundown with its distinctive perspective from inside the cave. This remarkable viewpoint needs to walk to the end of the beach where is the location of Phra Nang Cave, the consecrated site for the local fishermen. Uniquely, watching the sunset from inside the cave through the gorgeously stalagmites with the endless sea together with various size of the islands presenting one of the most the amazing and fascinating sunset perspectives in Thailand.

The “Luminosity” Phenomenon

In case the tourist visits the Phra Nang Beach at the twilight on the moonless night and the water in the sea is calm. It is possible for the visitor to witness the amazing natural phenomenon that is very rare to experience which is the “Luminosity” Phenomenon. The phenomenon occurs when the tourist throws any rock, gravel, or one’s body to touch the water’s surface at the front of Phra Nang Beach and amazingly the flash lights up in seconds and then gone.

beach on poda island in Thailand

The luminosity occurrence is caused by nature and it differs from the “Air Ball” phenomenon as we know in general. Some scholars explained this occurrence caused by some species of the “plankton” that crowded reside at the area in front of Phra Nang Beach and they are stimulated by the objects that drop on the water’s surface resulting in the luminosity. And besides Phra Nang Cave Beach, the tourist can see this phenomenon at the area of Seaside Cave at Poda islands (the tourist who wants to watch the luminosity at Poda Islands, the recommendation is to pick the tour package “Sunset at the Separated Sea – Poda Islands” via the website www.thongteaw.com. This package is good in benefit which is although it is a moonlit night it is okay to spot the luminosity since the shadow of the cave blocks the water surface from the moonlight. Moreover, the luminosity at Poda Islands is more obvious and beautiful than ones at Phra Nang Beach.

The legend of the Place

The name of the location “Phra Nang Beach” and the highlight spot which is “Phra Nang Cave” come from some mythology that the local people transmit from generation to generation. And as the tourists, it is the right thing to know the background of the place we will visit, and the stories about the sacred cave at Phra Nang Beach are by following;  

The first story

  • Once upon a time, there was a gorgeous lady (Phra Nang in Thai) lives in the castle next to the sea where is not too far from the Shells Cemetery. With her undeniable beauty attracted a lot of men to fall in love with her, however she did not accept anyone’s love. Then, a man from Hua Kwan (Kingfisher) island visited at the castle and ask for her love. Regularly, the lady did not accept his relation thence the man tried to use of force towards the lady. At that time, a man from Naga Island passed by and witness the incident so that he helped the lady. And the lady decided to marry to the man from Naga Island.

On the wedding day, the other men who have the object of affection to the lady did not want the man to marry her and tried to agitate the wedding until led to the chaos. A hermit who was in the pilgrimage inside the cave heard this. Then, he came out from the cave to stop them; unfortunately, they did not obey. Consequently, the hermit cursed them all to become the stone – the lady turned to be the Phra Nang Cave and the men turned to be Hua Kwan Island, Poda Island, Ngon Nak Island, and Hang Nak Island. The wedding’s tray of gifts that sunk into the sea turns to be a mountain located in front of the Phra Nang Cave and the sweet sticky rice to use in the ceremony set to be the Shells Cemetery.

Aerial view Phra Nang Cave Beach in Krabi, Thailand

The second story

  • Another story is there was a family of Yom Dung have no any children then they went to ask for the child from the Naga. The Naga, then granted them with the condition that if they got a daughter, she needs to marry with the Naga’s son. And after that, they got a daughter and named her “Nang”. She grew up and fell in love with a man called “Boon”, and their parent had to allow them to marry unwillingly.

And when the Naga acknowledged he got angry to the Yom Dung family. Thence, the Naga impersonated to the human form to seize the girl. And a hermit who was in the pilgrimage came out from the cave to stop them, but they did not obey. So, the hermit cursed everything to be the stone –  a bridal house turned to be Phra Nang Cave, the sweet sticky rice turned to be the Shell Cemetery, the appliances turned to be Mo (pot) Island, Thab island, and other islands around the area and the Naga turned out to be “Khao Hang Nak”.

Any places mentioned in the legends are the existing locations nowadays within Krabi. The mythologies of Phra Nang Cave then are the stories that written to match to the places which is not followed to the curse of the hermit. Nonetheless, the legend of the cave tends to related to the belief that there are the guardian spirit dwells at the cave according to the telling of the fishermen who hide the monsoon in the cave and see her in the dream. And the fishermen, then worship the sacred spirit with a lingam for luck and save journey since then.

The Best Period to Visit Phra Nang Beach

Phra Nang Beach welcomes the tourists all through the year, however the tourists should be careful for the water playing in the rainy season since it is strong wave and windy and crowded of jellyfish.

How to Go to Phra Nang Cave Beach

The tourist can shop the tour package of Four Islands included the Separated Sea, Poda Island and Phra Nang Cave from the tour agents at Ao Nang or the resorts you stay that is more worth. Or if you plan to stay at the Phra Nang Beach, you can but the boat trip (long-tail boat) from Ao Nang Pier that services daily between 8.00-8.30am to 5.30-6.00pm. The price is THB80 person / trip. The boat will depart from the dock once there are 7 passengers on the boat.

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