The French took over in 1869 and ruled until King Norodom Sihanouk declared independence in 1953. The colonial regime left behind impressive villas and large avenues, which form today's city centre. By the 1960s, the town was swinging and cafés were overflowing the streets.
April 17, 1975 is the day Phnom Penh changed. It emptied in one day as the Khmer Rouge took over the country. After four years Cambodians came back from across the country to reinvigorate their capital city. From a small riverside village it grew to become the country’s commercial hub. Today it is a burgeoning Asian capital crawling with activity; the landscape still void of skyscrapers. Phnom Penh remains an untouched Asian gem where cyclo drivers get lost in a sea of motorbikes.