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Krabi: Railay Beach

Warning – if you are going to pose for a photograph with large wooden phalluses, be careful how you shift your weight. One wrong move and it can all go horribly wrong, as my girlfriend discovered one morning in the Princess Cave on Phranang Beach in Krabi, southern Thailand.

Within seconds, she was on her knees as the oversized penises decorating the cave went a-tumbling; one the size of a tree trunk was particularly hard to haul back into place, a photo opportunity that must rank as one of the most hilarious of all time.

Located under a limestone overhang at the end of a gorgeous, palm-lined stretch of sand, this cave is actually a place of worship, the carved phalluses placed by local fishermen who believe the offerings will appease the Princess spirit who dwells within, thereby helping their catch.

Phranang Beach is one of three beaches on this peninsula not far from Krabi, which is accessible only by boat. Long a secret of backpackers and rock climbers, who flock to some of the most challenging cliffs in the world, Railay Beach (as the isthmus is known) is arguably one of the prettiest places in the world, with longtail boats bobbing on calm emerald waters flanked by looming cliffs clad in dense rainforest. Sandy beaches lure sunworshippers and soccer players; while beachside bars and cafes are an essential part of the relaxed Railay lifestyle.

Rustic bungalows are still the predominant choice of accommodation on the peninsula, but these days life at Railay isn’t cheap, with many of the original establishments beloved by backpackers horrendously overpriced. Instead seek out bargains at newer places; we found a great deal at a new spa property called Bhu Nga Thani with an opening special; while the divine Rayavadee resort occupying prime real estate at the tip of the peninsula is well worth the splurge.

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