Millennial backpackers are begging for money from locals in Southeast Asia to fund their travels, and police have had enough
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
- "Begpacking" has become a controversial trend: young travelers beg for money from locals to continue their journeys.
- Authorities in places like Thailand and Bali are cracking down on begpackers, who are usually young Westerners with a serious case of wanderlust, according to a report by the Guardian.
- Many travelers are reportedly busking or selling photographs on the street to earn money, which has drawn criticism from immigration officials and locals alike.
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Some backpackers are taking traveling on a shoestring to a new level.
According to a recent report by the Guardian, authorities in Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries are cracking down on "begpackers": usually young Westerners who ask locals for money to help fund their journeys. Some of the travelers sell photographs or perform songs on sidewalks, while others simply ask for quick handouts, the report says.
Often, the locals who give begpackers money are poorer than the travelers themselves.
In Hong Kong, new busking laws are forcing out street performers, mainly due to noise complaints. According to the South China Morning Post, begpackers were all over the city three years ago: outside train stations, on footbridges, and on sidewalks.
The Indonesian island of Bali is also clamping down on foreigners who ask locals to pay for their trips. The South China Morning Post quotes an immigration official in Ngurah Rai International Airport saying that tourists who run out of money or are pretending to be beggars will be sent to their embassies.
In Thailand, authorities are even less accepting. Even with a valid tourist visa, visitors to the country are now required to have 20,000 baht (around $647) in cash upon entering. If they don't, they could be turned away, reports Thaivisa.
The crackdown on begpackers has affected street performers who busk to support their art. One such performer is Tomoya Nagayama from Japan, who won't be busking in Hong Kong any longer.
"Someone called the police on me," Nagayama told the South China Morning Post. "I think it's because many older Hongkongers feel contempt for me - well, not just me, but Hong Kong buskers, too."
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