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Guide to Visiting Phra Nang Beach & Cave in Railay, Krabi

Guide to Visiting Phra Nang Beach & Cave in Railay, Krabi

A useful travel guide on how to get to Phra Nang Beach & cave in Railay, Thailand.

Phra Nang Cave Beach is a stunning white-sand beach surrounded by tall limestone cliffs on the tip of the Railay Peninsula, in Krabi on the southern coast of Thailand.

This truly is one of the best beaches in Thailand, with plenty of things to do such as rock climbing, kayaking, snorkeling, and exploring Princess Cave and the little-known Bat Cave.

In this guide, I’ll detail everything you need to know about Phra Nang Beach, from how to get here via a 10-15 minute longtail boat from Ao Nang or walking from Railay East Beach.

I also include a fun list of activities and some lesser-known spots that we found like Hidden Beach which is accessible from Phra Nang.

Rocks and caves on phra nang beach
Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

About Krabi's Phra Nang Beach

Phra Nang Beach is a beautiful beach accessible only by boat or by walking the track from Railay East Beach.

Due to its secluded nature, this white-sand beach is a famous wedding venue and typically one of the must-visit attractions on the Railay Peninsula.

The beach is named after the Phra Nang Cave, which is located on the east side of the beach. This cave is considered a sacred site by the locals and is dedicated to a mythical sea princess, which is where the name "Princess Cave" comes from.

Location: Phra Nang Cave

The beach is typically patrolled by lifeguards during the peak season. It features a small island just off its shores, named Ko Rang Nok, which is accessible by swimming, kayaking, or walking at low tide.

Phra nang beach, railay

How to Get to Phra Nang Beach

Since Phra Nang Beach is located in Railay, you cannot drive here from other parts of the Krabi Province since there are no vehicle roads on this peninsula.

Below I'll detail two great options for how to get to Phra Nang Beach either on a day trip or via the longtail boats from Ao Nang or Ao Nam Mao Pier, Krabi.

Tip: Phra Nang Beach gets very busy starting at around 11:00 AM.

Longtail boats at railay, krabi

Option 1: Railay & 4 Islands Speedboat Tour

The easiest way to get to Phra Nang Beach & Cave is to book the Krabi Islands Speedboat Tour online. This is a great way to combine a visit to Railay and the unmissable Krabi Islands like Chicken Island and Koh Poda.

The tour includes free Krabi area hotel pickup from popular tourist areas like Ao Nang, Krabi Town, Ao Nam Mao, Klong Muang, or Tub Kaek Beach.

Also, as a speedboat tour, it's also the fastest way to visit the most beautiful beaches & islands in one day. This means more time swimming at Phra Nang and the islands, and less time on a boat.

Option 2: Longtail Boat from Ao Nang Beach

If you want to stay at Railay, or just visit on an independent day trip, then the best option is to take a longtail boat from Ao Nang Beach or Ao Nam Mao Pier.

The boat ride from Ao Nang is the best option. This takes just 10-15 minutes and costs only 100 Thai Baht each way to West Railay Beach. These longtail boats are shared and you must wait until they fill up with at least eight passengers.

If you want to get directly to Phra Nang from Ao Nang, you can pay an additional cost to the boat driver and he will take you there.

I've written a detailed guide on exactly how to get to the Railay Peninsula for more information.

Boat driving from railay beach, thailand
Phra nang beach, railay

Walking From Railay Beach to Phra Nang Beach

You can walk to Phra Nang Beach from Railay East Beach. There is a short and completely flat trail leading beneath the limestone cliffs at the southern end of the beach, taking just 10 minutes.

Along the way, you'll pass the steep trailhead to the East Railay Viewpoint and lagoon hike, an awesome adventure I'd recommend either after or before you visit Phra Nang.

Infographic for getting to phra nang beach, krabi
Map showing how to get to Phra Nang Beach from Railay East.
Stalactites on the walking track to phra nang cave beach
The concrete path to Phra Nang Beach, shaded by stalactite features.

9 Things to Do on Phra Nang Beach

Now that you know exactly how to get here, let's dive into the fun attractions and things to do at Phra Nang based on my past visits.

1. Phra Nang Beach Cave (Princess Cave)

The most famous attraction at Phra Nang Beach is the Princess Cave, also known as Tham Phra Nang Nok in Thai. This large cave is at the east edge of the beach, near where you walk out from Railay East Beach.

One of the first things you'll notice is the large wooden phallic symbols and a shrine at the entrance of the cave. Local fishermen consider this a sacred site and believe that it is home to a mythical sea princess.

Phra nang beach cave

Legend has it that fishermen once used to make offerings to this Indian Princess Goddess at this beach cave in exchange for a bountiful catch.

Over time, the Phra Nang cave became a popular pilgrimage site and is now commonly visited by those seeking fertility, hence the small wooden penises and colorful votive offerings like flowers, incense, and snacks.

Princess cave at phra nang, krabi

2. Dine at the Famous Rayavadee Cave Restaurant

The Rayavadee Resort is one of the most amazing places to stay in southern Thailand. But, even if you can't afford this 5-star resort, you might be able to splurge on one evening dining at its famous Cave Restaurant.

This restaurant has been going viral on social media lately, with elegant tables set up inside a natural limestone cave, illuminated with soft lighting overlooking the crystal-clear waters of Phra Nang Beach.

The restaurant serves a mix of Thai food and international cuisine. If you want to dine at this restaurant and you're not staying at Rayavadee, you'll need to call them to reserve a table.

Rayavadee cave dining grotto in krabi

3. Relax & Swim on Phra Nang Beach

Of course, one of the best things to do on Phra Nang Beach is just to enjoy the white sand and shallow waters for swimming and relaxing.

The beach is quite long, meaning there's plenty of space to lie down. From the beach, you'll even have a clear view of Koh Poda in the distance.

Swimming at phra nang beach

4. Go Kayaking

With its calm, shallow water dropping into a deep blue and surrounded by amazing caves and limestone cliffs, Phra Nang is the perfect beach for kayaking.

The great news is, that visitors can rent kayaks, as well as other water sports equipment like stand-up paddleboards or snorkels, right on the beach and prices are quite reasonable.

Alternatively, you can rent a Kayak at Railay West Beach and paddle around the headland to Phra Nang.

Kayaking at phra nang cave beach near  ko rang nok island

5. Swim or Paddle to Ko Rang Nok (Ko Rang Beach)

Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of Phra Nang Beach is the towering Ko Rang Nok, a small island just a short distance from the shore.

The Island has a small beach known as Ko Rang Beach, directly facing Phra Nang, which is a small, secluded beach great for swimming and relaxing.

During low tide, you can even walk out to Ko Rang Nok. At high tide, the swim is very short and easy, especially in calm conditions. Alternatively, rent a kayak and paddle out!

Koh rang beach in krabi

6. Walk to the Hidden Beach at Phra Nang

Located among the forested area at the western edge of Phra Nang Beach is Hidden Beach.

The only way to get here is to wade through the crystal clear waters beneath the limestone cave. At low tide, this is very easy. But, during the high tide, you may need to get wet up to your chest.

This beach features a small area of soft sand, shaded by dense forest. Hidden Beach is quite small, accommodating perhaps 6 people at most. If you're looking for a quiet area away from the crowds, this is the ideal spot.

Hidden beach at phra nang, krabi
Hidden beach at phra nang, krabi

7. Go Rock Climbing Behind Phra Nang Beach

Railay Peninsula attracts rock climbers from all over the world for its amazing Thai limestone. One of the best climbing spots on the peninsula is just behind Phra Nang Beach, known as "Escher World".

You'll find this at the base of the cliff on the way to the Bat Cave (below).

This route is popular for beginner and intermediate climbers, with polished rock and safe, titanium anchor bolts.

Rock climbing at phra nang beach

8. The Phra Nang Bat Cave

While Phra Nang Cave Beach is named after and made famous for the Princess Cave, the Bat Cave truly is a much more impressive natural feature.

This huge opening is visible from the shores of Phra Nang and looks like a huge hole carved out of the karst tower on the western end of the beach.

To get here, you don't need any special equipment. It's just a short walk through the jungle on the western side of the beach, followed by a light, 10-meter scramble, then a walk up through the cave aided by rickety bamboo ladders.

The Bat Cave viewpoint is found at the end of a narrow tunnel, which squeezes out to a viewpoint area with panoramic views over Phra Nang Beach.

Related: Diamond Cave in Railay

Views from the bat cave railay

9. Go Snorkeling

Snorkeling is one of the best things to do in Railay, and Phra Nang has two areas where you can swim with fish and enjoy the healthy coral reef.

Both of these coral areas are found at either end of the beach, with the western end being a little healthier.

Phra nang beach, railay peninsula, krabi

Tips for Visiting Phra Nang Beach

I hope that you've enjoyed this travel guide to Phra Nang Beach at Railay in Krabi, Thailand. Before you go, here are some final tips to make sure you have a great time at this incredible cave beach.

  • Peak season - the high season runs between November and April when the weather is dry and sunny, perfect for beach hopping. This is the best time to visit Railay. However, 6 million tourists visit Krabi every year. So you can expect some crowds at this popular beach.
  • Visit early - if you're coming from Ao Nang I recommend taking the first longtail boat at 8:00 AM, or earlier if you're in a larger group and can fill the boat.
  • Respect local customs - remember, the wooden penises are funny, but this is a sacred site for local people. Please respect the cave and beach.
  • Watch out for monkeys - the walking track from Railay East Beach to Phra Nang Beach is a hotspot for monkeys. Be mindful and keep snacks away from them. Do not feed them as this can make the population aggressive.
  • Take your trash with you - Thailand isn't exactly known for being very efficient with its trash management. Remember, Railay has no vehicle roads, so all trash is taken out via the long tail boats. Try your best to minimize your single-use plastic consumption, and take your trash with you from the beach.
Aerial views over phra nang beach at low tide, krabi.

FAQ About Phra Nang Beach

How do I get to Phra Nang Beach?

Access to Phra Nang Beach is via a longtail boat from Ao Nang, or walk from Railay East Beach. Speedboat tours are also available for a broader exploration of the surrounding islands that stop at Railay and allow you to visit Phra Nang Beach.

Can I walk from Railay Beach to Phra Nang Beach?

Yes, a 10-minute flat trail links Railay East Beach to Phra Nang Beach. It's an easy, scenic walk. Watch out for the monkeys on the trail and do not feed them as I witnessed many tourists doing this and the monkeys became aggressive.

Is Phra Nang Beach good for swimming?

Yes, the water is clear and shallow which makes it ideal for swimming and relaxing on the beach. I believe it to be one of the best swimming beaches in Krabi.

What should I be aware of when visiting Phra Nang Beach?

It is important to respect local customs at sacred sites such as Princess Cave, be cautious of monkeys, and manage your trash responsibly to protect the surrounding marine environment.

Where to Stay at Railay

Railay is a small peninsula with no cars or road transport. Therefore, you can walk to all the pristine beaches, where most of the best Railay Beach hotels and resorts are located. There are also a few budget backpacker hostels right on the beach.

Below are the top 3 places to stay in Railay for each budget.

Rayavadee outdoor views of the bungalow accommodation and swimming pool, krabi

1. Rayavadee Luxury

Known as one of the best resorts in Krabi. This 5-star luxury accommodation in Railay is famous for its epic cave restaurant. Boasts immaculately designed rooms, 6 restaurants, an outdoor pool, & incredible balcony views.

Tinidee hideaway villa accommodation on tonsai beach, thailand

2. Tinidee Hideaway Villa

Amazing sea-view villas overlooking the impeccable Tonsai Beach. The most romantic place to stay for couples. Features a beachside pool & world-class breakfast included.

Blanco hostel pool in railay

3. Blanco Hideout Budget

Easily the best backpacker hostel in Railay featuring a pool, two bars, a restaurant, a gym, and great common areas for sunbathing and meeting other travelers.

Phra nang cave beach, railay
Lizard at the beach in krabi

More Railay & Krabi Travel & Adventure Guides

I hope that this travel guide to Phra Nang Beach and Princess Cave has inspired you to visit this beautiful place in Krabi, Thailand.

Before you shoot off, why not check out some of my other Thailand travel guides? I've got tonnes of great content from Railay and Krabi, and I'm sure you'll find something you would have missed otherwise!

Hidden beach, railay beach

Plan Your Krabi Accommodation

Still in the planning stages of your trip? Perhaps you're booking on the fly. The below accommodation guides will help you plan where to stay in Thailand.

Pinterest pin guide to visiting phra nang beach
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you.

Summer Pan

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Thanks so much for your travel guides about Phra Nang Beach. We are about to set off to Railay beach for 3 days. Your guides helps a lot to us!

Olly Gaspar

Saturday 16th of March 2024

I'm glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Erin

Sunday 29th of October 2023

Can you go to the restaurant if you don't stay at the hotel?

Olly Gaspar

Sunday 29th of October 2023

Yes, I asked them but you will need to call ahead to reserve a table and let them know you are staying elsewhere.