Jalan Tun H S Lee, Kuala Lumpur

Jalan Tun H. S. Lee is a 1.8 km long street running through the heart of downtown Kuala Lumpur. Before Independence it was known simply as High Street, indicating that it was one of the earliest and most important commercial thoroughfares in the town. 

Map of Jalan Tun H S Lee, Kuala Lumpur

The street has witnessed all the major events in KL’s history since the 1880’s and bears the scars of the city’s growth and development.

The street is named after Tun Sir Henry Lee Hau Shik, a former government minister. It runs from Jalan Gereja in the north (near the Telecom Museum) and finally peters out in an underpass beneath Jalan Kinabalu in the south.

The street is named after Tun Sir Henry Lee Hau Shik, a former government minister. It runs from Jalan Gereja in the north (near the Telecom Museum) and finally peters out in an underpass beneath Jalan Kinabalu in the south.

Most visitors to KL will, have travelled along sections of this street but few will have seen the need to walk along its entire length. If you were to inclined to make the long walk, this video gives a flavour of what you would see.

Jalan Tun HS Lee Street Scene

The street is a combination of old and new, scruffy and smart, high rise and shophouse and is typical of the untidy but colourful lanes you find in downtown KL.

Old shophouses exist alongside modern towers. There’s nothing twee about this street.

Old shophouses exist alongside modern towers. There’s nothing twee about this street.

This row of six shophouses is thought to be one of the oldest in KL dating from the 1880’s, with a roofline lower than its neighbours. It has had an award winning restoration and is now a boutique backpackers’ hostel.

This row of six shophouses is thought to be one of the oldest in KL dating from the 1880’s, with a roofline lower than its neighbours. It has had an award winning restoration and is now a boutique backpackers’ hostel.

There are a number of hotels and hostels in this street, mainly catering to the budget end of the travel market.

If the taste and price of the food is more important to you than the ambience, you’ll find plenty of places to eat in this street.

If the taste and price of the food is more important to you than the ambience, you’ll find plenty of places to eat in this street.

There is a wide variety of eating establishments along this street include Affriasia Village Kitchen (African food), Santa Chapati House, Solti Restaurant (Nepalese?), Betel Leaf, Oishi Ramen, Water Lily Vegetarian, LOKL Coffee Shop, Ayam Kampong, Bangladeshi Halal food, Kopitiam and Kedai Kopi Lai Foong.

Whatever you want to buy, there’s probably a shop selling it in Jalan Tun HS Lee.

Whatever you want to buy, there’s probably a shop selling it in Jalan Tun HS Lee.

Traditional Malaysian High Streets like this one have a wide range of retailers. Here are some of the categories found here: clothing, hardware, motorbike repairs, fertiliser and weedkiller, tea merchants, rubber chops and car number plates, money transfers, stationers, comic books, travel agents, jewellers, antiques, party accessories, pet food supplies, feng shui supplies, natural crystals, gifts, bags, nail and hair accessories, crockery and much more.

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple was founded in 1864 by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy and is dedicated to the deities Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya.

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple was founded in 1864 by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy and is dedicated to the deities Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya.

A narrow entrance leads to Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, one of KL’s oldest.

Guandi is the patron of righteous brotherhoods and includes both police forces and triads among his followers.

Guandi is the patron of righteous brotherhoods and includes both police forces and triads among his followers (not in Malaysia of course).

Another temple further down the street is dedicated to Guandi, the Taoist God of War.

Madras Lane may have obtained its nickname from the adjacent Madras Cinema, now a vacant lot used for parking.

Madras Lane may have obtained its nickname from the adjacent Madras Cinema, now a vacant lot used for parking.

An alley way nearby is know as Madras Lane (officially Jalan Sultan), renowned among Malaysia’s foodies as a destination for hawker fare such as curry laksa, yong tau foo, chee cheong fun and fish head curry.

This temple was founded in 1873 by a prominent Tamil called K. Thamboosamy Pillai, who was also said to have been instrumental in establishing Batu Caves as a Hindu Temple. He also contributed generously to the building of St. Mary’s Cathedral which no doubt put him on good terms with the British colonial administration.

This temple was founded in 1873 by a prominent Tamil called K. Thamboosamy Pillai, who was also said to have been instrumental in establishing Batu Caves as a Hindu Temple. He also contributed generously to the building of St. Mary’s Cathedral which no doubt put him on good terms with the British colonial administration.

Across the street is the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple one of oldest and most photogenic of the Hindu temples in KL.

In KL’s early days fires were a constant danger with most houses being made of wood with attap roofs.

In KL’s early days fires were a constant danger with most houses being made of wood with attap roofs.

Further down the street is blocked off by blue metal fencing behind which a massive hole in the ground is being filled with the new Mass Rapid Transit railway station for Pasar Seni. After skirting around this construction site, Jalan Tun HS Lee continues south on its final stretch which includes the police station and the site of the station of the Volunteer Fire Service. The Sikh Police temple is nearby.

This building was the original Victoria Institution school but is now used as a venue for cultural dance and traditional arts shows.

This building was the original Victoria Institution school but is now used as a venue for cultural dance and traditional arts shows.

This ends our tour of Jalan Tun HS Lee.

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