Welcome to 5 Passes’ temporary website!

•April 27, 2009 • Comments Off on Welcome to 5 Passes’ temporary website!

5 passes logo color invert

Life Under the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung, North Korea

Interested in visiting NORTH KOREA this summer? Only around 1000 Americans have visited North Korea over the last fifty years and this summer P’yongyang is opening up its doors to American visitors for a limited time only! Apply (click here) to visit with us now!

Among the Goats, Tajikitan

First off, we would like to introduce ourselves. Five Passes LLC (五山口有限责任公司) is a new company founded by three Brown University graduates, Matt Reichel ’09, Jonathan Warren ’09 and Nick Young ’09, specializing in educational expeditions, eco-tourism, and generating environmentally friendly alternative income opportunities for rural populations in East and Central Asia.  Starting this summer, we will be operating in China, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, eastern Tajikistan and northern Pakistan and we will be launching our Kashgar-based office this winter.

Descending into the Wakhan, Afghanistan

“5 Passes” got its name from the five major mountain passes linking Kashgar with Central Asia, South Asia, the Near East, China and the Tibetan Plateau: the Torugart to the Kyrgyz steppe, the Khunjerab through the Karakoram Mountains to Pakistani Kashmir, the Kolma over the Pamirs to Tajikistan, the Chiragsaldi across the Kunlun Mountains on to the Tibetan Plateau, and the Wakhjir snaking between the Pamirs and the Hindu Kush mountain ranges into Afghanistan.

N Korea Summer Program Flag

Our “Inside North Korea” summer 2009 program will be our first educational trip organized as a new company and we are thrilled to invite you to apply now!  Through our Chinese and Korean partners, we have been granted permission to take US citizens in addition to all non-South Korean citizens to North Korea this August to watch the Arirang Mass Games in P’yongyang – which have been confirmed for August 10th through September 30th barring any changes.

We will personally be leading the trip along with our local Korean Ten Million Miles with the General: Military Firstgovernment-issued guides.  All three of us graduated from Brown University with degrees in East Asian Studies (China and Korea focused) and will facilitate discussion on North Korea during our nightly group meetings.  So far, the Games are a go-ahead from P’yongyang, but in the case of the Games being canceled for some unforeseen reason, we will have to cancel the trip.  There is no indication that this will happen and we are confident that the games will go ahead as planned.  Come and experience the Mass Games with us!

What are the Mass Games? In short, the Mass Games are a compilation of artistic movement, highly choerographed dance, pattern formation and presentation preformed by over 100,000 North Koreans, mainly school children.  The students practice their choreographed sections everyday for months prior to the opening of the games.  The entire backdrop to the proformance is lead by students holding colored booklets to form pictures, images and slogans behind the dancing, this is called a “card trick.”  The performance lasts about an hour and a half and themes include praise to the North Korean State(조선민주주의인민공화국), the Korean Workers Party (조선로동당), the Great and Dear Leaders Kim Il Sung (김일성) and Kim Jong Il (김정일), North Korea’s Military First Policy (선군정치), Korean reunification (조국통일), the Juche Ideology (주체사상) and more distinctly North Korean topics.

In addition to seeing the Games in P’yongyang, our program will take you to the North Korean port city of Namp’o, the Kim-family heartland at Mt. Myohyang, and the industrial city of Kaesong and the DMZ as viewed from the North.  We will ride through the North Korean countryside by train on our way to and from the Chinese-border towns of Sinuiju and Dandong, visit the famed “one-leap-across” where the Chinese and Korean shores of the Yalu almost touch, climb along the unrestored Ming dynasty wall at Jiankou, and meander through the hidden gems and modern marvels of new and old Beijing.

When: August 10th through the 20th, 2009 (11 days, 10 nights).  See the sidebar to get a full itinerary!

How to Apply: fill out an APPLICATION form (click here for pdf version) or just see the side bar – and send it in to 5shankou@gmail.com, applications are currently being accepted and participants will be admitted on a first come first serve basis!  Apply now!

How much:  the program fee will be $1,499 for students and professors and $1699 for all others (this is based on double occupancy costs – if you want your own room add $300 for single supplement) see below

Tour guides within the DPRK and China
Ten nights of accommodation (3-star in China, top class hotel – Yanggakdo Hotel in North Korea)
Three meals daily
North Korean visa application processing (but not the visa fee)
All transportation within China and the DPRK
Round-trip train tickets between Beijing and P’yongyang
All entry tickets included on the itinerary

Round-trip airfare to Beijing
Double or multiple entry Chinese visa ($131)
Arirang Mass Games entry ticket ($105)
North Korea visa fee ($131)
Personal travel and medical insurance
Personal spending and drinks
Anything not mentioned in “included”

If you are interested or have any questions, please email us anytime at 5shankou@gmail.com


The Five Passes Team
Matt, Jono and Nick