JJ Express, or Joyous Journey Express, is a bus company based in Yangon that provides new buses and a high level of service. This is a VIP bus and passengers get food, water, and entertainment on their journey.
The company started in 2011 and uses a fleet of modern buses with a 2+1 seat arrangement to increase the comfort of passengers. Buses undergo daily maintenance checks on the essentials before it departs on a journey to maximise safety and to reduce the risk of breaking down.
JJ Express drivers have a minimum of 10 years’ experience driving buses and need to take more stringent driving training before they can drive the bus. The quality and professionalism are much higher compared to other companies and the passenger’s safety is put first.
There are two types of class on JJ Express. First Class (VIP) uses a 2+1 seat arrangement whereas a cheaper option is the Business Class coaches with spacious 2+2 seats. Both classes are good for long distance travel but First Class is usually a popular choice for overnight journeys with extra leg room and more comfort.
Attendants give refreshments throughout the journey and are all trained in basic first aid. Travel insurance is also provided for passengers.
The main terminal in Yangon is Aung Mingalar Bus Station, which is on Thudhamma Road in the North Okkalarpa Township. This is about 25 kilometres from downtown Yangon and takes at least 45 minutes to reach in a taxi. Bagan Shwe Pyi Bus Station is the main terminal in Bagan located at Nyung U Kyauk Pan Taung Highway.
This operator serves several routes that connect the major cities and tourist destinations in Myanmar. Below are the most popular journeys, duration, and estimated distance:
The distance from Yangon to Mandalay is around 625 kilometres and it takes buses around 9 hours to cover it.
Only two buses depart on a daily basis: one in the morning and a night bus with a one-way ticket costing USD18.50.
One Yangon to Bagan bus (625 kilometres) leaves at 8 pm and takes 9 hours to reach. The price is USD18.50 for a one-way ticket.
In the opposite direction from Bagan to Yangon there is also a night bus and it leaves at either 8 pm or 9 pm from Bagan Shwe Pyi Bus Station.
It is 570 kilometres from Inle Lake to Yangon and it takes at least 10 hours on a night bus. Tickets are USD25 for a seat on a VIP bus.
Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw (370 kilometres) is a more frequent route with 4 buses departing each day (8 am, 12 pm, 5 pm and 10 pm) with the journey taking around 5 hours for USD7.
Mandalay to Nay Pyi Taw is a 4-hour journey covering over 270 kilometres and leaving at 7 am for USD6.
Comfortable seats on a new and modern bus
Entertainment is available on a personal screen attached to the seat in front on a VIP bus
Depart and arrive on time
Snacks and drinks provided
Most of the staff speaks some English and very attentive to passengers needs
Reputable company and easy to find information about tickets and routes
Toilets are available on the VIP bus
Daily maintenance before the bus leaves
Online booking is available on other platforms other than their own website
Some staff speak English with heavy accent, which travellers find hard to understand
No toilets on normal/express bus
Buses aren’t as often as other companies
Air conditioning is blasted at the lowest temperature constantly throughout the trip
Online booking on their website has limited choice of routes
The price and routes vary depending on which website the tickets are booked from
JJ express seems to be a popular choice for night travel
There may not be daily buses for the route you want
The VIP bus between Yangon and Bagan is considered to be the best route, which includes comfortable seats, a toilet, onboard Wi-Fi and refreshments.
Reservations are typically made on their Facebook page to be paid and collected 30 minutes before departure from the front desk at the bus station.
Avoid using third party websites to book with JJ Express and they often add an additional USD5 to the price.
The bus leaves Yangon from Aung Mingalar Bus Station, which is at least a 45-minute taxi ride from the city centre. You also need to collect tickets 30 minutes in advance.
Most travellers are overwhelmingly positive after the company invested in a new fleet of modern buses.
Some travellers mention that they had low expectations after reading a few negative reviews about the company but were pleasantly surprised when they embarked onto the bus. Highlights mentioned by many include the comfortable seats, leg cushions, and a personal screen for entertainment. If you are lucky, your hostesses will speak both Burmese and English. Blankets are normally clean blankets, snacks and water provided.
Regardless the route, travellers are generally happy with the service though some feel somewhat uncomfortable because announcements are always in Burmese without translation into English. Another great point is that the food served on board is never too spicy and is ok for a western palate.
There have been some reviews though about huge delays, especially on Mandalay–Yangon route with journey taking almost 13 hours in total to reach Yangon. Note that this is quite possible if the road is under repair or due to heavy rains, so to be on the safe side before buying your ticket ask about the road condition at present.
Opposite to many travellers’ experience with other bus companies, we have never heard about lights being left on at night or too high volume on entertainment system with JJ Express.