Kids in Ha Long Bay are so beautiful, they look really healthy with dark skin and a ready smile. Lots of kids in Ha Long Bay actually do business during the day and I wonder when they go to school. They paddle small floating baskets toward the big tourist boats trying to sell some snail shells, food and drink and also use their small baskets to take tourists around into the villages and visiting caves.
I talked to a few kids in my most recent trip back there and the number of kids who go to school is only a small percentage. Their living standards are so low that they have to help their parents earn money. Don't be surprised if you see lots of very young kids controlling their basket-boats very well or swimming very fast because they've really got used to it. This is what they do almost everyday and it's also a part of their life.
Some kids are really agressive if you don't buy from them and they will keep asking you to buy from them. It's a bit like Hoi An and Sapa when you take photos of then they expect you to buy something from them or give them some money. I usually take photos, talk to them a bit then give them some small money or get in their baskets for a ride around the bay.
Anyway, personaly I think kids should be at home, and going to school, not hanging around trying to earn money while they are still so young. They are the future of the country and I wonder if they see their own future floating around in a basket.