The reason why I went on a liveaboard even though it was pricier and more luxurious than some of the more budget-minded dive boats was that I was NOT going to be spending my time with some begpackers. Yes, that’s what they are, not backpackers, but begpackers. If you don’t know what begpackers are then you can look it up but they are basically Westerners (or those who come from a more developed country) trampling around in countries begging locals and other tourists to FUND their travel through that country and/or the world. And it’s not holding up cardboard signs, they have all these crowdfunding campaigns to help fund their trips. Now granted, some of them probably did experience some event where they got robbed or whatever, but I think the trend is that they deliberately settled down in a foreign land in order to leech off of the locals even though it’s likely that tourists give them money. There is another term for them as well: freeloaders.
My advice: ignore them.
Unless of course they approach you and get hostile. I’ve had this happen to me once in Lima, Peru, where a dirty-looking American without shoes came up to me asking for some coins. I refused and he started yelling at me to which I started to walk off but it was not to get away from him, instead, I was searching for a local policeman to go call immigration to deport this rangy dude. I don’t know what happened but after a few days afterwards, I never saw the guy again so maybe my actions helped in “re-locating” the bum, on his own dime.
Backpacking/hitch-hiking on the cheap is pretty much well-known and acceptable activity, however, expecting others to fund your trip because you don’t have your financial means, well, maybe you should have gotten a J-O-B before the trip or during the trip. And you can go online to see that they have some pretty unique ways to attract attention (and money) such as providing hugs, playing music, showing pictures, etc. And the worst has to be picking up hitch-hikers…. near a prison. A lot of people are clueless about this. There are actually signs that say DO NOT pick up anyone because there is a prison nearby.
Note: That you might find these notorious begpackers in hostels while traveling so be mindful of your belongings because if given the opportunity to make a quick cash score, they WILL do it. And they’ll attempt to do without your awareness nor consent. I’ve never had this issue thankfully because I’m pretty sure there would be some blood and broken bones – none of them mine. And what’s noticeable is that these choosy beggars come out when the weather is warm or in places where there is plenty of sunshine – that’s where they generally swarm at.
And in Thailand in general (probably Bangkok in actuality)… there are a lot of these professional beggars who can cry crocodile tears on demand. I ignore people who self-inflict themselves willingly. Unfortunately, they intermingle with the true poor people but I cannot separate the two and won’t make any attempt to. I’m surprised though that some people (or even countries) have not tried to expose some of them which has happened before. I know some of them have threatened to send them to their respective embassies, inflict physical pain, throw them in jail, or forcibly throw them on the next plane out of the country.
That brings me to why I went on the liveaboards, a pricier one, is to avoid those extreme-frugal travelers. I don’t have to subject myself to their crocodile tears because if I go a few classes higher, I don’t have sight of them all. I can enjoy the dive peacefully and even at night, I can sleep well knowing that I won’t have to worry about them trying to go thief-mode on me.
And out on the waters, on a liveaboard, all you worry about is the diving. The crew handles everything. It’s pretty awesome to say it as the workers all know that it’s your vacation/holiday and they want to make it as easy as possible.