Located at the confluence of the Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap Rivers, Phnom Penh was reputedly founded by a wealthy widow named Daun Penh, who discovered Buddha statues hidden in a hollowed out log that washed up to her doorstep during a flood of the Mekong. Throughout the centuries, Phnom Penh served as the capital of various Cambodian realms, from the ancient Khmer Empire to the French colonial administration, and finally the modern-day government of Cambodia.
Today, Phnom Penh is a chaotic, lively maze of tumbling streets, tuk-tuks, bicycles, and motorcycles. A blur of activity from morning until well after sunset, Phnom Penh's streets are dotted with a mix of colonial French buildings and traditional Cambodian architecture; with its legendary nightlife and bustling avenues, Phnom Penh has something for everyone. Highlights include the temple of Wat Phnom, where Daun Penh was said to have founded the city, and Tuol Sleng, the sobering, former prison where opponents of the Khmer Rouge were executed.