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Wild China vs Travel Guide China (or the like)

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Hi! I am planning a mother/daughter (she'll be 11yo) trip to China for next summer for about two weeks. I have gotten two different quotes so far for private tours that include most of the same basic sites most travelled (Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin & Chengdu) with some emphasis on the pandas in Dijuangyan (volunteer program and a photo). The Wild China tour also includes a trip to the Wild Panda Reserve to look for wild pandas as well and includes some classes: Kung Fu, cooking, and ink painting. The Travel Guide China trip does include the "shopping" stops like pearls, jade, silk, pottery that I have read about in forums as a downside to tour groups. However, the Travel China Guide tour includes local trains/flights and Wild China does not. Wild China costs $4K more than the Travel Guide China tour. Does anyone have any experience with these two tour groups or travelling in China and can offer advice on if the Wild China is worth the $4K more. Wild China does not mention shopping stops. Are the guides better? Are the hotels better? Are both options bad? I still haven't even completely decided to travel with a tour company! I have read the arguments for not doing so but I also think travelling alone with a kid in a foreign country where I do not speak the language and the language is nowhere near Spanish, French, English and Italian of which I would feel more comfortable does give some peace of mind. I am comfortable travelling independently and do understand I could save money that way. There has to be some peace of mind though with having a tour guide. I've read on some forums that Wild China takes you off the beaten path a bit more and I do like the idea of taking classes and really learning a little bit by actually experiencing some of the local cultural experiences. But 4K is a big price difference! That's another smaller trip! ;-) Thoughts? Advice?

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