We didn't stay too long in Punakha as it's a small town and there isn't really much to see there. So on day 5 we woke up early and were served hot breakfast with tea. Our hosts made us quite an elaborate breakfast and they were just so kind! After breakfast we started our journey back to Paro. On the way we visited Chimi Lhakhang Temple, the temple of fertility. It is said that those who cannot bear children or are infertile go there to pray and they are blessed with children soon after. Our guide told us many stories of how couples who have not been able to have children since years came here as their last resort, some even got the permission to spend the night at the temple, and within a year's time they were blessed with children.
We continued our drive back to Paro. On arriving at Paro, our guide was extremely kind to take us out into the main town to explore, in spite of being off duty. In town there are several souvenir shops where one can find lots of things to take back. And some of the shopkeepers are very honest about the quality of the things they're selling. If the product is badly made or very flimsy, they will tell you that before you buy it. Sure they lose money, but they're honest.
After some shopping in town we went to our homestay. Our hosts were extremely kind and became good friends. We were joined by some other travelers for dinner which was cooked by our hosts. We had typical Bhutanese food (kewa datsi, ema datsi, etc). The food was delicious and the company was great. The next morning we went for a hike up to Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest. This hike is not as easy or as difficult as you might think it is. I am a very active person. I used to do sports 2 hours every day, seven days a week, and honestly I didn't think the hike would be too hard for me, but boy was I wrong. The altitude at which Taktsang is located at, that's what gets you out of breath, but it is absolutely worth it. At the base of the hike you can find lots of people selling hiking sticks, but I wouldn't say that it's needed. The hike can totally last upto 7 hours, including resting time. It is doable with short breaks every now and then. There are also horses that take you till a certain point, but the people believe that to earn the blessings from Taktsang you have to walk it, and so we did. We got a little rain and hail on the way, a first for me, and it was wonderful! On reaching Taktsang you'll see one main temple, and you'll see stairs on the left leading to another room a little higher. We were told that the oldest monk sits there in isolation to meditate. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche was carried all the way from Tibet to this location on the back of a tigress, thus Taktsang got its name Tiger's Nest. The tigress then meditated I'm a cave in the temple and eventually died there. Her cave is now open for the travelers to see, and it is quite an experience to climb all the way down. Inside the monastery there are four temples and also residential accommodation for the monks. You'll see many monks in prayer, some younger monks sitting next to them, learning, and others cleaning the statues. We were even lucky enough to have a chance to experience the monks prayers. After visiting the Tiger's Nest we started coming back down. On the way there is one restaurant that you can stop at for lunch. We went directly back to your homestay where we were offered a refreshing hot stone bath. Our hosts get very therepeutic herbs from the mountains that help for various health problems and also various stones that help for different things. They then heat the stones for almost 6 hours in the fire. It's a very lengthy process, but the end result is amazing. The stones are then put into special bath tubs that are full of water, and the water heats up gradually with the heat from the stones. The hot stone bath leaves your body absolutely relaxed and stress-free. You can feel the tiredness leave your body. They say if it's the first time you're doing a hot stone bath you should not sit inside for more than 20-25 minutes as it can drain out all the tiredness and energy and leave you feeling very lightheaded. Before I went for my bath I requested my host whether he could teach me archery, since I'm very interested in such sport. He happily obliged and taught to shoot, very patiently might I add. And I did pretty good considering it was my first time holding a bow and arrow. They were really the most gracious hosts. After our baths we were served an excellent Bhutanese dinner. And since it was our last night there we all sat up late and chatted.