During our stay in KL, we did stuff, obviously. While some of the most famous attractions did not appeal to us as much there are some things we both really wanted to do. The Petronas Towers were a bit expensive, and one of us does not appreciate heights so we both felt that it was not worth it. However, we both wanted to visit the aquarium or Aquaria. Aquaria is located right under the KL Convention centre hence the name/abbreviation KLCC, and to get there we walked through a small park area surrounded by some of the most impressive looking high-rises in the city including the Petronas Towers, so if you are into tall expensive looking buildings walking around in the lush green areas around KLCC might be for you. The Aquarium is actually underground so you won’t find it just by looking for it unless you are looking for actual signs and not a big building. It’s not super obvious where it is so I suggest not just getting off the train or subway expecting to find it, however, if you looked up the way (like we did) beforehand you should be fine.
The entrance was priced pretty high by Malaysian standards, I think we paid around 48 ringgit per person, but don’t quote me on it. You will get a cheaper ticket if you prebook it online. It’s not done via their own website but through different third-party providers, which at first seemed really suspect. However, after some quick research, it did seem like it was all legit. We used Klook.com to get a discount on the entrance and it worked fine, otherways the ticket for an adult foreigner is 65 ringgit I think. So my recommendation is to book online or via your phone because it’s basically a discount with no drawbacks.
As you enter the aquarium itself you will walk through different sections detailing different parts of the aquatic world, and some land animals that are suitable to be kept in a terrarium such as snakes and lizards. The main attraction of Aquaria is, of course, the tropical ocean section with the underwater tunnel full with sharks, turtles and rays. All I can say is that in my opinion it’s justifiably famous. It was really immersive and visually stimulating to see some of the ocean’s most famous creatures. I found it to be very serene and calming to see them effortlessly glide by, and this was despite the inescapable presence of hyper-excited small children. My reaction might be coloured by my background as a diver, but in general, I didn’t see anyone that seemed frightened or panicked, but merely excited. Obviously, if you have a shark phobia or claustrophobia, this is not the activity for you. There are also different times where the animals are fed, we made sure to time our visit for such an occasion. You will see some divers in the water giving the sharks some meat, and just outside the tunnel there will be somebody explaining to a small crowd what’s happening inside and you will have a view over the main feeding area. However I think the animals themselves are the main attraction, so my suggestion is to view the feedings as bonus, something that is nice to see but nothing that you should bend yourself backwards over to include in your visit.
After the big aquarium with the sharks, there were some more science-themed exhibits/aquariums and a petting station for smaller (toothless) sharks. There where also a lot of info about conservation and why it’s important with a special focus on the abhorrent practice of shark finning, something that is frankly very important in a country like Malaysia where you still have many Chinese restaurants serving shark fin soup. It’s also really good that it’s more of a homegrown “campaign” rather than something that is being promoted by a foreign agency telling people how they should behave. Overall, the exhibits were very well-maintained and built in ways that were exciting to see and esthetically pleasing. I only felt that one aquarium (the sea otters) was too small for the animals that it housed. It’s actually not a very big aquarium so you could burn through it quite quickly, but I think we stayed at least 30 min near the big ocean aquarium and probably at least one hour in the whole complex. Personally, I think it’s worth the money you paid since it’s a reasonably unique experience and the overall quality of the aquarium is high. And I say that as a diver that has seen most of the big animals on the exhibits in the wild such as the sharks, rays and turtles. If you have small kids that really like animals, it’s basically a must. So, in summary, I think it’s well worth it, unless you are on a really tight budget.