At this tiny urban oasis, you can get your nature fix without leaving the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
The historic heart of downtown Kuala Lumpur has seen big changes in recent years with exciting new restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and event spaces being regenerated and opened by a wave of entrepreneurs redefining the urban experience for locals and visitors alike.
Nestled within a cluster of renovated pre-war shophouses known as High Street Studios (HSS) along Jalan Tun HS Lee is HSS Pocket Park – a lush, green oasis where people exploring the area can take a break, and escape the heat, noise and traffic congestion. It was intentionally created to balance the burgeoning development of commercial spaces with equally vital public spaces.
“Downtown KL needs more than just hipster cafés – it needs more public spaces,” says Ng Ping Ho, Director of the Kindness of Strangers Hospitality Group, who manages the park for private owners. “We decided to create a park modeled after pocket parks in major cosmopolitan cities around the world, where urban spaces are reclaimed and transformed into green community spaces. Even though Pocket Park is a privately owned space, it’s open to people from all walks of life.”
Recalling the inspiration behind HSS Pocket Park, Ng muses, “In 2011, on a trip to New York City, I chanced upon the tiny Paley Park tucked between all the skyscrapers. There was a gushing waterfall, tall leafy trees, and people having lunch, reading or taking a break. With the sound of flowing water and sunlight filtering through the trees, it had a stillness that felt a world away from the bustle of the city. We felt that the time was right for a space like that in KL.”
HSS Pocket Park occupies a compact 935-sq ft courtyard space within a complex of pre-war shophouses known as High Street Studios. The row of shophouses was originally a backpackers hostel that closed during the pandemic, converted to a mixture of retail and offices for small independent businesses in 2022.
Derived from the original name of Jalan Tun HS Lee, High Street now houses the Kuala Lumpur offices of Think City, independent bookstore Riwayat, popular LOKL Coffee Co, creative Gahara Batik, and Gambus, a music store featuring traditional instruments. Cyclists frequent the park on weekends because there is ample space to park their bikes.
HSS Pocket Park was made possible with the support of Think City’s Downtown Kuala Lumpur Grants Programme in 2021, an initiative designed to crowdsource urban solutions that will accelerate the transformation of Downtown Kuala Lumpur as envisioned in the Kuala Lumpur Creative and Cultural District Strategic Masterplan, while strengthening the social and environmental resilience within Downtown Kuala Lumpur.
HSS Pocket Park Open Day:
Sept 16, 11am – 3pm
To raise awareness of the park, Kindness of Strangers will be organizing an open day on September 16, 2023. The event takes place during Malaysia Day, incorporating a sense of nostalgia with Malaysian snacks, food stalls and creative activities.
Grab a coffee at LOKL Coffee Co, find out more about Downtown KL from Think City, and take part in activities like Face Painting, Batik Painting and book readings. Think City will also be present to share the aspiration of Downtown KL and the Kuala Lumpur Creative and Cultural District Strategic Masterplan.
Even though the Open Day date has come and gone, you can still enjoy this tiny slice of greenery amid the hustle and bustle of KL’s concrete jungle.
11am – 3pm
- Ramly Burger and Milo Food Stalls Komei Playground Booth
- Wishing Tree with Think City Face Painting (until 2pm)
- Traditional Music Demo at Gambus
- Batik Painting Workshop with Gahara Batik Live Painting at HSS
- 12pm – 12:30pm: Dialogue Session with Think City at HSS Pocket Park
- 1:30pm – 3pm: Book Reading and Sharing by Marina Mahathir, Fatimah Abu Bakar, Chang Yoong Chia and Nik M. Fahmee at Riwayat
"ExpatGo welcomes and encourages comments, input, and divergent opinions. However, we kindly request that you use suitable language in your comments, and refrain from any sort of personal attack, hate speech, or disparaging rhetoric. Comments not in line with this are subject to removal from the site. "