Experience Kathmandu like a local, expat, or even royalty by staying at one of these unique Airbnbs. Here's a roundup featuring ten of the best — from a former Rana summer palace in Patan to a sound-proof apartment in Thamel — that are all within walking distance from popular tourist attractions and activities in the capital.

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#1 Imperial Duplex in Historic Patan

Master bedroom with roof terrace inside former summer palace (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

Just minutes away from UNESCO World Heritage Site Patan Durbar Square, this newly renovated two-bedroom duplex was an erstwhile Rana summer palace. You can tell from its lofty ceilings (perhaps the highest in all of Patan), crystal chandelier, opulent glass mirror, and fantastic wooden balconies, all left intact, that this was not a typical Newari house.

After a day of exploring Patan's hidden alleys and sacred temples, recline like a king on the plush couch and watch some HD TV. Or, if you've done some food shopping at the nearby markets, why not throw a dinner party? The apartment comes with a fully equipped open kitchen and dining room table that seats six (but sadly, no personal chef). Afterwards, head upstairs to the airy master bedroom and enjoy a nightcap on the roof terrace. It doesn’t get more luxurious than this (in Patan, at least)!

Cost: from $123 USD
Hosts: 4-5 people

#2 Gurkha-themed Room in Panipokhari 

Khukuris on display at the Gurkha room (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

If you've always wanted to spend the night at a museum, now is your chance. 

Located across from the Rashtrapati Bhawan (President's Residence) in a quiet district home to several embassies, this Gurkha-themed room is one of six culturally-distinct apartments at "The Museum,"  each designed by a master craftsman whom you can meet and even learn from in workshops run by Backstreet Academy. This one showcases khukuris (steel blades used by Gurkha warriors) by master blacksmith Indra Bika.

Not only can you pick up a new skill by staying here, but you can also be the first in line for food at Le Sherpa's biweekly Farmer's Market (Wed. & Sat.), the biggest farmer's market in Kathmandu, which is just adjacent to The Museum. Don't miss the Tibetan-Burmese momos and noodles, which usually run out early on Saturdays. 

Cost: from $41 USD
Hosts: 2 people

#3 Soundproof Apartment in Thamel

Away from the grit and noise: a peaceful oasis in Thamel (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

If you like being where the action is, but also like your sleep and modern comforts, this Airbnb is for you

Thamel is the center of Kathmandu's nightlife and tourism industry (read: backpackers), which makes this bright and cheerful two-bedroom apartment from Ananya Apartments unique for two reasons. First, it's soundproof - unlike most other apartments and hotels in the neighborhood - thanks to double-pane windows. And second, at 800 square feet, it's much more spacious than the majority of hotel rooms you'll find for the same price. 

Worth mentioning, too, is that it's inside a lovely neoclassical-Newari, earthquake-resistant building that suffered no damage in 2015 -  so you can sleep soundly after returning from a night out on the town.

Cost: from $46 USD
Hosts: up to 4 people

#4 Beautiful Newari Apartment in Old Patan

Newari-style living room inside Yatachhen House  (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

Newari architecture, indigenous to Nepal, is among the most beautiful in the world. Which is why when you're in Nepal and, in particular, Kathmandu, it would be remiss to pass up the chance to stay inside such a beautifully restored Newari townhouse.

Set in the heart of historic Patan, Yatacchen House (which means "Living in Harmony") is home to chic rental agency Cosy Nepal and is among the first successful Newari conservation projects in the area. It's also earthquake-resistant. Use this 500 square feet, wood-floored pad as your base to explore the neighborhood's art galleries, cafés, temples and, of course, the magnificent Patan Durbar Square.

Cost: from $75 USD
Hosts: 2 people

#5 Guesthouse with Garden in Sanepa

This renovated guesthouse is perfect for getting a taste of expat life (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

The photo doesn't do this charming abode justice.

Renovated after the earthquake, this private guesthouse with full kitchen and bathroom (each sporting gorgeous metal sinks) is adjacent to a beautifully restored Newari farmhouse and vegetable garden, all belonging to a veritable "superhost" Ben Ayers, producer of the award-winning short documentary The Last Honey Hunter, about a man who scales cliffs to collect hallucinogenic honey in eastern Nepal.   

This guesthouse is great because it's in the center of Patan's Sanepa neighborhood. About a 20-25 min walk from Durbar Square, Sanepa is an home to fantastic restaurants, coffee shops, a yoga studio and many INGO and UN offices - hence, an expat favorite. 

You'll also be minutes from two of the best places for brunch in the area: Café Soma and Yellow House (go on a Sunday for the weekly farmers' market). And it's stumbling distance from Basecamp, the best nightlife spot south of the Bagmati River. 

Cost: from $41 USD
Hosts: 1-2 people

#6 Eco-Contemporary Penthouse in Thamel

Coffee table made from 100-year old wooden beams rests atop a modern Tibetan carpet (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

This contemporary penthouse is not what you'd expect to find in Kathmandu - which is precisely why we've included it.

Featured in Praxis, a Nepali interior design magazine, this two-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-terraced Thamel apartment with full kitchen is sun-filled and solar-powered. Enjoy beers while watching the sunset from the bedroom terrace, which has views of the western hills surrounding the valley. 

Cost: from $82 USD
Hosts: up to 4 people

#7 Maison de Kathmandu in Lazimpat 

Sunny bedroom at Maison de Kathmandu (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

If you can tolerate a shared bathroom, this an amazing deal, particularly as it includes breakfast. 

'Maison de Kathmandu' is a small three-room Airbnb that's run by a Korean couple who also operate a café and bistro called Salon de Kathmandu. During your stay, you'll enjoy your breakfast after spending the night in one of their peaceful and clean bedrooms. It's located in Lazimpat, which is a quiet residential neighborhood not far from Thamel with some great restaurants and shops.

Costs: from $22 USD 
Hosts: 1-2 people 

#8 Boutique Room at 1905 Suites in Naxal

Once you check in, you might not want to check out (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

This beautifully restored suite, designed with a European flair, might be 1905's best-kept secret, which is better known for its glass-enclosed garden restaurant and Saturday farmers' market (8 am-1 pm). There is also a Buddhist meditation room onsite as well as an art gallery - which might be enough to keep you off the dusty streets of Kathmandu for a day or two.

That said, it's two blocks away from the swanky Royal Enfield Showroom and legendary Rum Doodle Bar & Restaurant, which has Sir Edmund Hillary's signed yeti footprint - both must-sees if you're in Naxal. 

Cost: from $120 USD
Hosts: 1-2 people

#9 Heritage Apartment in Baber Mahal Revisited

Take a long soak in this tub after a day of sightseeing in Kathmandu (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

As if 1905 Suites could be one-upped, here's a gorgeous apartment inside Baber Mahal Revisited that is designed and operated by a host who left France for Kathmandu 20 years ago and fell into hospitality.

Once the royal cowsheds and guards' quarters during the Rana era, Baber Mahal Revisited today is a neoclassical shopping and eating complex -- and at night, it's one of the most romantic spots in Kathmandu. If you stay here, the most difficult decision you'll have to make is whether or not to spend the day taking a lavish bath and reading a book inside your spacious apartment, or to step outside and get lost exploring the many boutiques and restaurants within the complex's five courtyards (as featured in Where to Shop in Kathmandu).

Cost: from $87 USD
Hosts: 2-3 people

#10 Three-Bedroom Apartment in Boudha

One of three bedrooms at Boudha Residency (photo courtesy of Airbnb)

While it might not be as stylish as the other options, you'll want to stay here for its tranquil location (it's a 15-20 minute walk from Boudhanath Stupa, the biggest and holiest Buddhist stupa in the world) and host, Chhewang Lama - who happens to be a kimkim specialist. Your go-to source on Far West Nepal and Tibet, Chhewang can also give you an insider's tour of Boudha and take you to meet the legendary "Kung Fu Nuns" of Kathmandu. 

Cost: from $15 USD
Hosts: up to 5 people

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