Many travellers and tourists prefer to explore on their own, but please also consider the impact thishas on the local economy.
In the example of Matisi, the tour guides are mainly from the Tibetan and Yugur minorities and are mainly young. Tourism is one of the few - if not the only - opportunity to provide decent wages that meet the expectations of young, 21st Century people.
The guides are educated, knowledgable and friendly; they do not recite monotonous tracts, but can explain the details of the grottoes, Buddhism and the local environment.
Your employment of these people for a couple of hours provides a substantial positive input to the local economy, and also to enabling local small communities to retain their young people. The rural exodus in China continues apace, and you can help to mitigate this
Also, please do not make the assumption that you can automatically spot a person from an ethnic minority. I read often that guides are not 'local" and look Han. After centuries of living closely together, many people may have more subtle Tibetan, Yugur, Zhuang, Dai or Oroqen features than you may be able to recognise!
Also, regardless of your beliefs about ethnic policies in China, the vast vast majority of Han people have deep roots all over China, and the presence of a han person should not be assumed to be a sign of an interloping outsider. I recently met a Tibetan official (not in Matisi) in Gansu who had arrived during the last year from a town 200km away; his two Han Chinese assistants' families had lived in the village for at least 300 years. Be careful with blind assumptions based on a little knowledge.
Favorite thing: While exploring Matisi, I stumbled upon a cute little piglet. Must be his/her owner tied he/she here nearby where they stay. I gave he/she some bread to eat. After eating, I try to pat his/her head but almost got bitten, probably came too sudden.
Favorite thing: In our favourite VT-miscellaneous-forum, 'THIS IS ME AT XXX' is one of the heatest topic. Some peoples' tips contained only a mere one line of writings has been constantly criticized as meaningless tips or bad. Bearing that in mind, I try not to write tips with just a line, to do that, I dump in a lot, a lot of writings. The concept of good tips is more about quantity of words, even just a picture of myself standing here enjoying open arms needed so much of descriptions or contents. Here, I try to show you a good long tip with heavy loads of words, I try to make it as long as possible to create an illusion of good long tip, not much of meaning but simply for the reason of avoiding one line of writings. Now that the tip looked quite powerful from far, that surely has the impact much stronger than those one-line tips, hopefully this kind of long tips can become a successful trend to lead others. Now back to why I want to pose with open arms. It was nothing for specific reason regarding this location or in travel, it was coming out from natural that I felt comfortable. Open arms can be so joyful when especially looking at beautiful surroundings, it just so, nobody force me to open my arms but it just so naturally done. Now for some private reason, I would like to continue this tip the next time when I have the mood, it will be some day or some years later, I can't promise you when I want to come back to further strengthen this tip to extend the length of its content, at the meantime while you are reading this tip, I'm sure you are also looking at my photo of open arms which I took from this beautiful location called Matisi in which I quite admire its greenery, that I would have to admit, is very beautiful.
Favorite thing: My sense of sight directly tell me this is not a just a scene of goat eating grasses, it was something, something which the organs accepted with joy and naturally delightful, it just so comfortable and feeling fresh and healthy. This kind of scene is absolutely beautiful, top class in sense of sight.
Favorite thing: I don't want say too much when I already have a photo of this quality in location like this. Anybody try to tell me this is not a beautiful place, look at it yourself, I hate describing beautiful.