Special Stays: Village Above the Clouds, Bali

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Village above the clouds bed

As soon as I saw the Village Above the Clouds website, I knew we had to go there. I’d found it while searching for eco-hotels in Bali and it was the most charming and visually stunning one I came across. A few weeks later, I chanced across the owner at one of the many workshops I’ve been to in Ubud and he told me some more about the village where the hotel sits, and the school he’d started there. It was the obvious choice for our road trip away from Ubud, and I couldn’t wait to see it for myself.

View from Village above the Clouds

The first things that strikes you at Village Above the Clouds is the view. Set amid farming lands in a tiny mountain village, the hotel offers vistas across the countryside, all the way out to sea.

Village above the clouds bungalow ousde

The bungalows themselves are charmingly unique,

Village above the clouds bungalow

…with stylish decoration and the most comfy of beds.

Village above the clouds yoga

There’s even a space for yoga, and the food is divine. Each night alternates between Indonesian and international cuisine, and includes four delicious courses. The homemade chocolates and sorbet are especially tasty.

Steve and kids at Village above clouds

Almost as soon as we got to there, we were introduced to the jewel in the hotel’s crown – a school started by the owner, offering free education in English, music, arts and more to local Balinese children. It compliments the existing school system by offering free after-school lessons three times a week.

Boy writing Freedom on the white board

The project is fittingly named the Freedom School, with a mission to empower the children with choices to live their lives in a sustainable, healthy way. It’s been welcomed by the village and means Josep has been accepted into the local community as one of their own. One of the elders even told him that he’d had a vision of his arrival way before he arrived. It seems the project was meant to be.

Josep and kids at village above the clouds

We arrived to find Josep, the kids, and some other guests playing on the lawn. The hotel also offers a volunteering scheme with reduced rates for a full-board stay in return for teaching at the school.

Children playing cards, village above the clouds

The kids were super friendly and soon had us playing cards,

Steve and boy at Freedom School

…giving piggy backs,

Girls looking at iPhone photos

…exploring photos on our phone,

Balinese girl at Freedom School

…or posing for ones of their own.

Steve and kids at Village above clouds

Steve’s helicopter rides were especially popular.

Boy playing Gamlan

Music is a big part of the Freedom School and we think this kid could be a star.

Boys and strawberries, Village above the clouds

Permaculture education is another important aspect and their first project is strawberries, proudly displayed here by two budding gardeners.

Once school time was over one of the girls invited us back to her place. She wanted to show us her snake! We’ll share the photos of that excursion next week.

The Village Above the Clouds is a truly memorable place to stay. Not only is the hotel stylish, charming and peaceful, it’s also a rare example of a tourist endeavor that successfully integrates with and respects the local community. We felt like we were guests of the village, not just the hotel. If you find yourself in Bali, be sure not to miss it, and, even better, try to volunteer.

Thank you Josep for offering us a discounted rate. All opinion, of course, are our own.

22 thoughts on “Special Stays: Village Above the Clouds, Bali”

  1. This place looks amazing! I love the idea of volunteering and hangout out at the school for part of a visit there and just getting to be a part of the community!

    PS Enjoyed meeting y’all at WTM! Cheers!

  2. This looks like so much fun – I want one of Steve’s helicopter rides now! Seriously, though, you need to stop growing my already over-full to-do list!

    • Ha! I used to bloody love helicopter rides when I was little. As soon as I wrote that, I heard Steve’s reply “You still are little”. Perhaps I’ll ask for a ride!

  3. They did a real good job there. It’s great to see people really taking care of the community they are part of, not just looking for profit. And splendid nature too.

  4. You had quite the wonderful adventure, spending 5 months in Ubud. We’re heading to Bali (including Ubud) and Lombok next year for several travel stories. We hope to find some of the un-touristy places too. And as for the touristy ones, well, sometimes you have to accept a place for what it is (like Honolulu isn’t Maui). We’ll now settle into your other Ubud posts…

  5. this village is a heaven…. i want to go there please… loveliest place ever.. thanks a lot Victoria dear for sharing..

  6. Hi Victoria,
    I am in Ubud late January for a retreat and was looking at staying on and volunteering in a school..this sounds perfect. Do you have contact details for the Freedom School? I have tried to get to their website but it just takes you to the booking.com sites.
    Thank you for sharing your travels with us. Very inspiring.
    Aly

  7. I’ve always been wanting to visit Bali but i was worried that I won’t have any authentic experience there. And now I am so pumped to step onto the island to discover beyond the stereotypic Bali. And this amazing village particularly reminded me of my volunteering life in Fiji .
    I was first attracted to your website by your Japan itinerary since I am going to Japan next month and hope for the best to catch the cherry blossom season. And I just couldn’t stop keeping exploring more of the destinations and pictures you shared. I truly love them!

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