At the beginning of The Pearl Sister, CeCe travels to Krabi in Southern Thailand – a place filled with fond memories of times spent there with Star – hoping to gather her courage and continue on her journey to Australia. CeCe and I both share a love for this dramatic and beautiful location, and her stay was inspired by my own many visits there with my family.

Railay beach, where CeCe first meets Ace, is on a peninsula, cut off from the mainland by impressive limestone cliffs, and reached only by a ‘long tail’ boat from Krabi Town. The beach is a Mecca for back-packers to chill and enjoy adventurous outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing.

On Phra Nang Beach in front of one of the stunning limestone formations.

Exploring the incredible lagoon, Koh Hong, like CeCe and Ace.

One of my personal favourite boat trips is to Chicken Island (which really does resemble a chicken), where you can snorkel in the clear warm water, and swim alongside amazing tropical fish.

Phra Nang Beach is a short walk from Railay, and as CeCe discovers, the famous Cave of the Princess at the southern end of the beach is filled with hundreds of phalluses of all different shapes and sizes, some even as tall as me, carved out of wood and painted in bright colours. As legend has it, the spirit of Phra Nang lives in this cave; she was an Indian princess who fell in love with a local fisherman, but then tragically perished in a shipwreck. For centuries, fishermen have been making offerings to the princess of lingams, carved phalluses – symbols of divine energy – which they believe will ensure prosperity and fertility for them and their families. It certainly makes for an unusual place to sleep, as CeCe does in The Pearl Sister!

Swimming with the fish at Chicken Island

The altar at the Cave of the Princess at night.