Lose your 'crabby' mood in the Thai beach resort of Krabi

Lose your 'crabby' mood in the Thai beach resort of Krabi

Krabi is not just another coastal resort. From a shrine with curious offerings to a 'tiger' cave of Buddha relics, this Thai province definitely offers more than meets the eye.

Once upon a time, a beautiful princess and her prince were sailing on a ship to Satun, one of the southern provinces of Thailand, to get married.

However, their journey was disrupted when a naga (dragon) attacked them. The prince fought the monster in vain. Their ship was split into two and the princess drifted on a plank to a beach - now known as Railay Beach, in Krabi.

Although legend has it that the prince survived the attack, he was not able to find his princess, who later died pining for her love.

This tragic tale was recounted to us by our animated guide Henry during a visit to the Thai paradise of Krabi.

I was among a motley group that included the media, on a familiarisation trip to this world-famous tourist destination, courtesy of Firefly during its inaugural flight there on Sept 11.

What struck me most was a unique shrine at the Princess Cave at Railay Beach in honour of the princess - the offerings were penis-shaped woodcarvings!

Henry said there were several versions of how such offerings came to be.

"More than 20 years ago, fishermen would come to pray at the shrine for good fortune and safety before they went out to sea. They would present food offerings. However, one day a man came to the shrine to make a wish.

"He wished to marry a girl whom he fancied - and his wish came true. One night, the man had a strange dream. A woman appeared in the dream and asked for "an organ of a man" as an offering to the shrine," narrated Henry.

It was believed that the woman was the princess.

Railay Beach, located to the south of Aonang Beach, is only accessible by sea although it is connected to the mainland of Krabi - by limestone promontories and steep jungle valleys.

Railay Beach is also a haven for avid rock-climbers. One of the ideal sites is just a stone's throw from the shrine. The limestone rocks are pretty tall and imposing.

Since we were pressed for time, we did not explore the whole area. Do note that the sea here is not suitable for swimming as its waters are quite murky.

As our trip to Krabi took place during the wet spell, it was considered low season for tourists. We were lucky to be blessed with sunshine at most times of the day.

Mention Krabi and images of the sun, sand and sea come to mind. Many even hail it as the Maldives of the East. Thus, island-hopping is definitely a must-do if you are ever in this part of the world.

During island-hopping trips, those prone to seasickness are advised to bring along their medication.

It is also good to have a waterproof bag to store your handphones and cameras when you board the boat.

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