Featuring fantastical watery biomes, everything from rivers to reefs, Aquaria KLCC is a cherished oceanarium in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Many Malaysians have memories of coming here at least once, either on a school trip or with their own children. With over 5,000 land and sea creatures from across 250 species, this popular and educational attraction draws in tourists and locals alike.
In this post, I will cover every piece of useful information that I have gathered from my recent visit, as well as recommendations on how to make your visit more enjoyable. If you do not mind spoilers, my post What To See at Aquaria KLCC will go into more detail about the actual exhibits and feeding times.
Location & How To Get Here
The Importance of Buying Tickets In Advance
Where To Buy Online Tickets
How Long To Visit
Amenities at Aquaria (Toilets, Accessibility, Surau & Storage)
When To Visit
Food & Drinks
Is It Worth It? (and How To Make It Worth It)
Location & How To Get Here
Aquaria KLCC is located beneath the KL Convention Centre in the beautiful KLCC Park and Petronas Towers area. Since it is underground, Aquaria doesn’t have a big flashy entrance at ground level so it can be a little difficult to find.
If you’re in the Suria KLCC mall, go down to the concourse level’s centre court. If you walk down the corridor with the Uniqlo and Maybank, you should spot the underground tunnel that leads to Aquaria. You can also take the overground route and walk around the lovely KLCC Park. At the very west edge of the convention centre, there is a recessed door with blue Aquaria signage on the windows next to it. If you go inside and take the escalator down, there is an underground tunnel to Aquaria. If you can’t find this door, you can easily go in through the convention centre’s main entrance a bit further down, where the building’s two wings meet at a “V” point.
Bus & Train
RapidKL: KLCC Station (KJ 10).
MRT: Bukit Bintang Station
KL Monorail: Raja Chulan Station (MR 7)
KL Hop-On Hop-Off: CITY route stop 9 (KL Convention Centre/Aquaria)
Set your drop off location as the KL Convention Centre and take the escalator down to the concourse level to get to Aquaria.
You can park your car at the KL Convention Centre (200 bays) or Suria KLCC (4,000 bays). The parking rates are more or less identical at RM5 for the first hour and RM4 for each additional hour after that. You can get detailed parking rates at the respective KL Convention Centre website or the Suria KLCC website.
The Importance of Buying Tickets In Advance
It seems like on any given day, you’ll see the queue snaking around the curved exterior of Aquaria long before you even see where the entrance is. Before you can get a glimpse of a single fish, there is the possibility of waiting in three long queues: the queue to check in with MySejahtera, the queue to buy tickets, and the final queue to get your tickets scanned for entry.
Aquaria KLCC is not the sort of place that one decides to go to spur of the moment. Most likely you will have planned it beforehand, so for your own sanity, buy tickets in advance online! With your tickets already purchased, you can skip the ticket line and save yourself potentially hours of tedious queuing that will just sap the energy of everyone in your group.
Where To Buy Online Tickets
You can buy directly from the Aquaria KLCC website at the same rates you would pay in person. Once bought, you have up to three months from the date of purchase to use your tickets. This helpful, open-ended ticket means you’re not locked into a specific date in case something comes up.
You should be aware of several discount sites that offer tickets at a reduced price. I know it can be scary to use one of these sites in case it’s a scam or there’s a problem. Currently, there’s Wonderfly and Traveloka, but I used Klook to buy our Aquaria tickets. Klook offered a RM17 discount per ticket for the weekday adult foreigner price (RM10 discount for Malaysians). You have to choose a date when buying tickets, but these tickets can similarly be used whenever. In fact, instead of only three months, the tickets from Klook were valid until the end of the year!
After purchasing, the email with our tickets in a PDF file arrived in my inbox after a minute. At the venue, I showed the QR code in the PDF from my mobile phone and was let in easily. The terms and conditions say that you must show ID or a passport when presenting your ticket. We brought ours just to be safe, but nobody asked for it. I think staff might only check if you try to give a “Malaysian ticket” when you obviously look like a foreigner. Overall, I experienced zero problems using Klook and I highly recommend using them. We were able to skip the line and saved almost RM50 after all the discounts!
New SOPs During COVID-19
Their website has a new “Precautionary Measures” page for due diligence, but Aquaria seems to have a very blasé attitude toward health and safety while operating during the pandemic. In a place as small and perpetually crowded as this, there is only so much they can do without completely sacrificing their profits. There were a couple of hand sanitisers in between some of the exhibits. Social distancing was definitely not enforced, and I didn’t witness any staff wiping down handrails, ledges or glass tanks during our entire visit. The only big change is that Aquaria KLCC claims that it has begun restricting the number of pax to 400 at one time, and recommends guests to pre-book a slot for their visit.
Booking A Timeslot
A timeslot can be booked on their website or Facebook page at the approximate time of your visit. This is much more important if you’re visiting on a weekend, and you should definitely take the extra minute to do this. Otherwise, you might have to queue again for the place to clear out before you can enter. During the weekdays, though, you likely won’t be turned away. I forgot to book a slot before our visit, but it was quiet and we were let in with no issue. Booking a timeslot does not affect how long you can stay inside.
Aquaria KLCC is essentially a long, winding tunnel that’s impossible to get disoriented in. Guests are allowed to freely backtrack to a certain exhibit, but it might get dull walking past the same tanks while going to and fro. The map above isn’t to scale but it is accurate on the sequence of the exhibits. The only thing that’s noticeably incorrect is that the Atlantis Souvenir Store has been moved to the final stop in the line, and is now in a location after Station Aquarius.
You can browse all of the daily and special feedings on the Aquaria website. There are many daily feedings that are spread out across the day and the exhibits. Some of the more unique fish only get fed on certain days, which are usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. In most cases, the feeding times are not posted at the appropriate tank, so you have to memorise the times or have the page open on your phone that you can reference. I only saw feeding times clearly listed at the piranha tank and the Aquatheatre.
For once, “Malaysian time” doesn’t apply here at Aquaria. The feeding times are strict and begin the minute that they say they will. If you’re set on watching a certain feeding, give yourself at least five minutes to walk to the exhibit and claim a spot. Some feedings are over in less than ten minutes, so you’ll miss the entire thing if you’re even a little bit late.
How Long To Visit?
The official website and various reviewers on TripAdvisor say that visiting Aquaria will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes from start to finish. However, we literally managed to spend almost four hours here by taking our time at each exhibit and by catching all feedings that were scheduled during our visit, even if it meant backtracking.
If you’re like me and like to watch a creature for a long time, or if you intend to watch all the feedings in their entirety that you possibly can, be generous with your scheduling. There is no time limit to how long you can stay inside Aquaria. No one will shoo you out if they see you spending all day here.
It’s important to note that re-entry with the same ticket is prohibited. You cannot leave for food and expect to come back in with your same ticket – you will have to buy a new one. If you’re planning to stay for a long time, make sure you are properly equipped with light snacks and a drink.
Amenities at Aquaria KLCC
Aquaria has a lot of exhibits packed into a tiny space, so it doesn’t have space for washrooms at regular intervals. There is a toilet on level 2, but the reviews mentioned that it was dirty and unpleasant. Use the toilets in Suria KLCC, which are much better maintained, before you visit Aquaria.
Wheelchairs are available for rent at the ticketing counter, which will require a form of ID to procure. Just before the Deep Forest exhibit, there is a set of stairs that you must descend to get to level 2. There is a lift at this point for the handicapped or those with strollers to use, which deposits guests next to the Mudflats. Make sure to backtrack so that you don’t miss seeing anything.
Leaving Aquaria requires going back up. In the Station Aquarius exhibit, there is an escalator. I didn’t see a lift here, so guests who need one might need to use the same one at the Mudflats to get to level 1 and backtrack back to the entrance to get out.
There is no surau in Aquaria’s tiny space. The nearest one is at the KL Convention Centre. There is one surau on the concourse level near the food court. There are two suraus on level 3, one located near the middle escalators and the other next to the Plenary Theatre.
Similarly, there are no storage lockers at Aquaria either. Since the exit is not the same place where you enter, you cannot leave your bags at the ticketing desk. Unfortunately, there are no lockers at the convention centre or Suria KLCC mall. If you plan to embark on a shopping spree at Suria KLCC on the same day that you visit Aquaria, do Aquaria first so that you’re not lugging your purchases around all day. If you’re a tourist who is checking this place out and can’t leave your bags at your hotel for whatever reason, you will just have to carry your rucksack and luggage with you as you explore Aquaria.
When To Visit
Aquaria is simply always busy so you’ll never have the place all to yourself. Even weekdays still see a surprising amount of crowds with children on school trips. We came on a Wednesday at 3 pm. The queue was short with only about ten people ahead of us at the ticket scanner, and we were past the gate within two minutes. Once we were inside, though, there were a fair amount of people all around the tanks and no social distancing. The queue right outside grew significantly within fifteen minutes and for the next hour and a half, the crowds around the exhibits swelled.
Based on my experience, the busiest times on a weekday was the mid-afternoon (around 3:30-4 pm), and I would guess that right at 10 am when Aquaria opens would also be bad. Avoid the weekends at all costs if you can manage it. If you absolutely can’t stand crowds, take a day off from work in the middle of the week so you can take your children here.
If it takes about two hours to do Aquaria, then logically, the morning crowd should be clearing out around noon to have lunch. Not many people (especially children) will want to come at 12 pm since it means that they either have to eat very early beforehand or super late after they’ve finished the attraction. While it might be less crowded, there are fewer feedings happening during this block of time so keep that in mind. Going after 5:30 pm would be the calmest, though I don’t recommend it. You’ll barely be able to catch a single feeding and you would have to rush through the exhibits – not worth the expensive ticket price at that point.
Food & Drinks
There are no food and beverage options inside Aquaria KLCC. The rules say no food and drink are allowed, but we brought a bottle of water tucked into my purse with no problems. I also noticed many half-full water bottles scattered around on ledges, forgotten by other visitors, as we were making our way through. I think “movie theatre rules” apply here. As long as you aren’t flagrantly juggling an entire meal when you get your ticket scanned, you can get away with sneaking some water or candy in your bag. Since the average person only spends about two hours at Aquaria, getting hungry and thirsty isn’t a huge concern. Plan to eat and get hydrated at the food court right outside Aquaria, or at Suria KLCC.
Is It Worth It?
In my opinion, Aquaria KLCC is too small to justify its expensive ticket price. Spending RM50 to RM70 per person is crazy for supposedly 2 hours of entertainment. Although, I saw a lot of families during our visit, so eating the cost for the sake of your kids is clearly just part of living in KL.
If you have the money to spare, coming here as an adult with no children can be fun in a whimsical sort of way. There’s a certain nostalgia as almost all of us were fascinated by fish as a child, and there’s no denying that some of the creatures are downright cool or cute.
A visit to Aquaria KLCC is expensive, even with the discounts from third-party sites, so here are my suggestions on how to get your money’s worth if you’re keen to visit. The rest of this section will be directed mostly at child-free adults, but those coming with their kids should take heed of some of the tips below as well.
How to Make It Worth It
I wouldn’t recommend coming here randomly just because you’re bored. If you’re indifferent about seeing fish from the get-go, the queuing and rambunctious children will only annoy you and sour your visit. It has probably been a long time since you’ve seen exotic fish and sharks – get hyped! Aquaria KLCC is way too costly to not be fully committed to getting the most out of your visit. One must be prepared to switch on their “child brain” and be impressed by cool looking fish even if they aren’t swimming around much.
Take the time to go to as many of the feedings as you can. The feedings are when you might see something truly unique. You may find it annoying to have to backtrack all over the place and constantly watch the time, but I believe that the feeding experiences will be the memories that stick with you.
Make sure that all of your needs are taken care of beforehand. Get something to eat, have a coffee, enjoy some fresh air and take a long sit, because you’ll have none of these things once you’re inside Aquaria.
You’ve spent so much on a ticket, you don’t want to have to cut your visit short. When you visit Aquaria, ensure that you are not on a tight schedule. Do not come here only a couple of hours before closing time. Even though the official website says that it takes an average of 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete your visit, there’s no telling how much time you’ll spend queueing on top of that. Or, you may simply be enjoying a certain exhibit so much that you spend a long time there, like us and our four hours. Don’t plan any unbreakable arrangements after your Aquaria visit such as dinner with a friend or movie tickets that have already been bought. Ideally, you have no set in stone plans for the rest of the day. Similarly, come prepared to counteract things that might make your visit uncomfortable and want to leave, such as Ibuprofen for a sudden headache, or pocket tissues for a sniffly nose from the stale air.
Lastly, perhaps the most important key to enjoying Aquaria as an adult is to go with someone who is similarly enthusiastic and ready for the experience as you are. There’s nothing worse than spending RM50 to RM70 for a ticket, only to have your companion whine and be pushing to leave before you want to.