Inspired by the masters of Asia and with a goal to give travellers truly unique memories, the Absolute Asia Tours team is excited to introduce a brand new line of exclusive travel experiences. We sat down with Long Nary- the Stone Conservationist who will be giving travellers a behind the scenes encounter with Angkor Wat- to uncover the magic of Master Class.
You have been a stone conservationist for 25 years, how much of that time has been spent working in Angkor Wat and Siem Reap?
I moved to Siem Reap in 1987 and one year later my first job was working as an Angkor conservationist with the Indian archaeological team. They helped to save Angkor Wat after the temples were abandoned during the Khmer Rouge era. In the beginning we not only worked during the day but at night too. We even had to carry guns to safeguard the temples from further vandalism.
So much of my life up to now has concerned preserving Cambodian culture heritage.
Working in Angkor Wat everyday must be incredibly rewarding. What do you love most about your job?
I love my work as an Angkor conservationist because I know I am helping to save our ancestors heritage. Angkor Wat has become like a university in that many students and researchers come through Siem Reap, as well as the millions of visitors. I have met so many people, national and international, who care about the conservation of this incredible place.
The most rewarding part is the knowledge I have gained and being able to share that knowledge and experience with different people from around the world .
You are also involved in the training of future Angkor conservationists in Cambodia. Can you tell us a little about the APSARA Stone Conservation Training Center?
My involvement in training future conservators for the stone conservation unit team is very important.
Considering there are a thousand temples, we need the human resources for salvaging these ancient heritage sites and we need to make sure it is done right. In the past conservation efforts have done more harm than good with the misuse of chemicals and tools. The training centers are teaching young and passionate locals the importance of modern conservation and preserving Angkor for future generations.
What was it about the Absolute Asia Tours Master Class initiative that made you want to take part?
I wanted to take part to share my knowledge. People always have so many questions for me about my work and are really interested in the conservation behind these ancient sites. I want to help people understand why it is so important. I want to give them a deeper understanding of Cambodia and the Khmer empire in the past and in the present.
What makes Angkor Wat a good location for a Master Class?
Angkor wat is the most popular place in Cambodia but many visit without knowing about Cambodia’s past. I think travelers can learn so much more from the Master Class tour about Khmer culture, arts, architecture,and stone conservation work.
As anyone who has visited knows, Angkor Wat is really a very special place. Understanding more about it only adds to the fascination.
What do you hope travellers will take away from their Master Class experience in Angkor Wat?
I want to give travellers a passion for learning more through these types of tours and continue to seek out more meaningful travel experiences. If they can pass on the knowledge and secrets of Angkor Wat to those at home, they will also want to learn for themselves and visit Cambodia through Absolute Asia Tours.
Fascinated to explore Angkor Wat for yourself? Find out more here and talk to our travel experts to customise your perfect Siem Reap itinerary.
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