Stacking a ladder against the towering spires of Cambodia’s archaeological marvel Angkor Wat, Chhoeurm Try gingerly scales the temple’s exterior to hack away foliage before it damages the ancient facade.
The 50-year-old is part of a crack team of gardeners ensuring the kingdom’s most valued heritage site is not strangled by overgrown tree saplings sprouting from the sandstone’s cracks. For two decades, Chhoeurm Try has made the treacherous climbs barefoot up to Angkor Wat’s central tower, which rises 65 meters high above the archaeological complex in the northern city of Siem Reap.
“If we make a mistake, we will not survive,” he says after returning to the ground.
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