JAKARTA: From tropical beaches to vibrant cultures, Indonesia’s Bali is known as one of the world’s most popular destinations for vacation — an experience some of the local operators are trying to enhance with the presence of animals exotic to the island’s fauna: camels.
On Kelan beach, located near Ngurah Rai International Airport, three camels called Bintang, Yulia, and Munaroh have been giving tourists rides by the beach, where sunset views and a glimpse of the fishermen’s lives become part of the experience.
“Tourists will see the fishermen’s fishing boats, how these people living on the shores earn their livelihoods through fishing,” Dewa Gde Yudistira, a veterinarian and co-owner of Bali Camel Adventure, told Arab News.
Yudistira, who started his camel rides in 2017, said tourists will also get to see the 122-meter-tall Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue from afar, or airplanes leaving or reaching the airport, as they ride on the camels.
“The sunset here is also one of the main attractions because there’s nothing like it,” Yudistira said. “It’s been gaining traction lately.”
Though the species is uncommon throughout the archipelago nation and, if at all, only seen at zoos, the animals’ upkeep is “not that difficult,” according to Yudistira. The camels, brought in from Australia, eat mainly grass and are sometimes treated to carrots, bananas and sweet potatoes.
The beachside camel rides have attracted visitors from all over Bali, Indonesian tourists from other parts of the country, and foreign visitors.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Yudistira’s guests included tourists from Japan, Australia, China, and South Korea.
After two years of closures, the business and the whole hospitality sector in Bali are getting back on track.
More than 617,000 international visitors have entered Indonesia through Ngurah Rai as of July 2022, according to Ministry of Tourism data, compared with just 35 foreign tourists during the same period last year.