Elfira Loy recently welcomed her second child – a baby girl – into the world. While the busy mother is currently in confinement, it hasn’t stop her from reminiscing about her travels before the pandemic.
The 28-year-old has been in the Malaysian film industry since she was 12, is also a TV presenter, entrepreneur and social icon. Being a celebrity has afforded her some perks to enjoy leisure activities like selecting family- and Muslim-friendly travel destinations. With social norms returning to normal, Elfira has spent the past month of Raya with family and friends. Now that travel is allowed, the Malaysian sweetheart looks back at her memories in Hong Kong.
Falling in love with Hong Kong…
Elfira, who is also a Hong Kong super fan, is part of a community initiated by the Hong Kong Tourism Board where social media influencers with a strong passion for Hong Kong are recruited to share their love for the city as part of its post Covid plan. Having been to Hong Kong three times; in 2010, 2013 and 2018, she recalled, “It’s not only my favourite place to visit, every trip I had to Hong Kong was a meaningful travel experience for me.”
“The first trip in 2010 was with my family. I was pretty young then, so I don’t recall specifics, but I remember we walked on the streets and had some halal food my parents found, I remember the best part of the trip was that we spent the entire day at Hong Kong Disneyland. My siblings and I had so much fun! I took my second trip to Hong Kong when I was 19, This was the most meaningful trip for me because it is my first overseas trip alone with only my siblings! The four of us went to Hong Kong for the filming of Destinasi Ria. We were so young, and we are so excited to go to Hong Kong Disneyland again, this time just by ourselves!” she said.
Elfira shared that they stayed in Hong Kong Disneyland because there were halal facilities provided where they could pray and find halal food. Aside from that, the four siblings also toured around the city at night with the Big Bus Tours. “I still remember how amazing it was to tour around the city and watch the light sparkling from the buildings at Kowloon area. My brothers, sister and I were sucked into the panoramic views of the bright lights and bustling energy of the city,“ the actress was quoted as saying.
As a melting pot of different cultures, Hong Kong’s well-known diversity also made Elfira comfortable as a Muslim tourist. She described it as one of the easiest destinations for her to explore, especially with her needs as a Muslim tourist. “It feels like home away from home, really; we did not feel out of place, and it did not feel like we needed to look hard for halal food or facilities. Locals are really friendly and helpful if we needed help or directions, but there’s also a huge Muslim community there where you can easily ask for assistance if need be.”
With a community of 300,000 Muslims living in the city, Hong Kong is currently home to multiple beautiful mosques, each with its own rich history and significance which are popular tourist landmarks, and has a widespread of options for Halal eateries, shops, and markets. “There’s a lot of Halal food that you can find easily in Hong Kong. One my favourite food place in Hong Kong is Muslim Food in Kowloon City. What to order? Their veal goulash is the BEST!”
Another one of Elfira’s favourite halal eateries in Hong Kong is the Islamic Center Canteen at Masjid al Amar, best-known for their halal dimsum and Cantonese food. “These are the two places I must eat at every time I visit Hong Kong.”
“My last trip to Hong Kong was in 2018. Again, I felt very comfortable there like it was my second home. It was a work trip, but that trip was special because I celebrated my 24th birthday there. I went full-tourist mode – I visited Sky100, took the Star ferry to visit the Jamia Mosque, I visited the largest mosque in Hong Kong, the Kowloon Mosque. I went to The Peak by tram to absorb the breath-taking Hong Kong landscape by day and visited Avenue of Stars in the evening to immerse myself in the Hong Kong night skyline and enjoy the lightshow. Goes without saying, I visited Islam Food and Islamic Center Canteen, and of course, I also did a lot of shopping,” she cheekily added.
As a wife and a mother now, Elfira has to plan for her family’s needs, such as travel itineraries to work around prayer time, eating schedules and activities for everyone’s interest. “This is why I feel that Hong Kong is one of the best places for Muslim travellers. With halal food easily found, iconic mosques for prayers, and surau facilities equipped at theme parks, it really makes it convenient.”
As for interests, whether you like city life or nature, theme parks or museums, street food or premium dining, Hong Kong gives you the best of both worlds as well! “I will definitely return for the fourth time. Especially with our family growing, Hong Kong is a good choice as an international destination but not too far and long in flight.”
Halal tourism has always been one of Hong Kong Tourism Board’s focus and a lot of effort has been put into promoting Hong Kong as a Muslim Friendly travel destination. Plan your halal trip and we hope you love it as much as our Hong Kong super fan, Elfira Loy!
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