Western backpackers begging in South Eastern Asia! A new “Beg-Packing” trend ? or just an irresponsible & disrespectful behavior ?

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Just a little bit over a month ago, the story of the German beggar was trending on travel websites/blogs & Facebook groups. He is a guy with a leg disease who used it as an excuse to beg for money in South Eastern Asia, then at night he pays the money on bars, clubs & prostitutes. He was arrested once in Indonesia & finally a a couple of weeks ago the Singaporean immigration denied him entry & deported him back to Europe.

Begging in Singapore! Seriously!!

Singapore is known for being so strict about its laws. You must think a thousand times before doing any prohibited activity there even as simple as smoking in a non-smoking spot. This could bring a real problem. No wonder that Singapore is where the popular German beggar’s South Eastern Asian journey ended.

Young people begging to travel!

I found this article on France24 website which discusses this phenomena. I don’t fully agree with the part about playing music or selling something such as postcards for money. At least playing music or selling postcards from different parts of the world can be something worth paying money for. I see no problem in being a young talent finding your way by playing in the streets but asking for money without providing any real value looks like an irresponsible and disgraceful behavior to me.

My main reason to be against the Beg-packing behavior is that a big portion of the South Eastern Asian countries’ population is struggling to earn money or even to get food. The average salaries for a highly skilled job in countries like Thailand or Vietnam is less than the half of average salaries for a restaurant or bar job in a western European countries or the US.

Don’t have enough money to cover your travel expenses?

It actually can be a reason to have more fun and having a better travelling experience

I’ve personally met travelers who don’t pay money travelling, always hitchhiking & volunteering everywhere. They met people who gave them money or treated them for food, not because they asked for it but because they were such and inspiration to the people who treated them.

Finding volunteering opportunities through WorkAway.info of helpX can be a better way to travel on low-budget while providing value to the communities where you are staying. Also couchsurfing can be a nice way to spending time with locals & having a local experience instead of asking for free money. Plus hitchhiking is a great way for having free transportation & meeting locals.

In the end, I don’t intend to judge or shame any human being. I just don’t feel alright about seeing someone going to some country to ask for money to add some luxury to his life while the people of this country can be in more need for his help than him asking for their help.


  • Amr A.

    Amr is the founder and the main author of Nomadic Memoir. Working remotely since 2015 and location-independent since 2016, with professional background is in the software industry as a web/mobile developer, a technical writer, and a project manager, in addition to running a digital agency and a 3d printing service.

    View all posts

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