Western begpackers spotted at Phuket market where locals work to earn their living

Photo: Palm J. Sittichai/ Facebook
Photo: Palm J. Sittichai/ Facebook

A solid four years after we first began reporting on the rising trend of “begpacking,” there are plenty of travelers who still feel justified in asking locals in developing countries for cash to fund their extended holidays.

Two such Western begpackers were spotted at Samkong Market on the resort island of Phuket just last week, something that didn’t escape the notice of social media.

“Wait a minute. They do this now? Farangs beg for travel money at Samkong Market. Is this right?” Thai Facebook user Palm J. Sittichai wrote in a post on Thursday.

The two men sat on the ground next to signs bearing an identical message in both Thai and English. To be fair, only one put their name to it, so it’s entirely possible the other half of the duo is simply a friend or perhaps a missionary looking for converts.

“My name is Alex. I’m traveling in Asia for 15 months. Sadly, I’m out of my savings, but I stay positive,” the sign reads.

Yep, stay positive, Alex.

“I’d like to ask for your kindness to fulfill my dream of traveling. Please donate for my trip. Thank you,” said his Thai-language sign.

Photo: Palm J. Sittichai/ Facebook
Photo: Palm J. Sittichai/ Facebook

From the pictures, it appears there’s at least a THB20 bill in his donation box.

After the photos were shared online, another Phuket local, Naruemon Suthanan, said that she had seen Alex (the man in the white tank top) begging on his own at another market in the Rawai area several weeks ago.

“I was surprised at first. But when I read his sign, it just makes me think of foreigners who bike or sail across the world. I didn’t give him any money. Lots of Thais and foreigners did, though,” she told Coconuts.  

While begpacking has been widely reported in Western media. Thai people know very little about the trend and often offer money to “the tourists in need” to show their hospitality.

Some begpackers are even admired for “courage” in embarking on a journey penniless, like this stud who sold his own photos to Thai women at a market.

In the past year, Thailand has seen a family of begpackers, dubbed the “begpacker brood”; a begpacker that started a GoFundMe page because he was too lazy to hit the streets; and, of course, notorious big-legged beggar Benjamin Holst, aka the most hated German in Thailand, who has been banned from the country (and several others).


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