JJ Express VIP Bus to Mandalay

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This is part of the Trip Report So Long Mongolia, Hello SE Asia (December-January 2015) which covers:

Catch up by reading the preview, The Banana Pancake Trail to Myanmar Starts This Monday, then the overview, Thailand, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Disney, Home, where the game time decision was made to leave Mongolia for good.


How can a ten-hour bus ride, let alone in Myanmar, rival the train to Chiang Rai? When it is the JJ Express VIP bus to Mandalay it can. You would think that you are boarding an Emirates A380 flight when you hop on this bus. The seats are angle-flat, you have your own personal television that has new movies in English (check out that new Rambo!), and there’s even a drawing with winners being awarded neck pillows, eye shades, and extra blankets. It really is an enjoyable experience. Add in the great rest stops for some food and alcoholic fuel and JJ like the Oriental Express has you hoping that the ride goes for a little bit longer.

But before we could get on the JJ Express, we had to take the hell bus back from Ngwe Saung to Yangon, take a transport minibus to the bus station and wait for the bus to leave.

bus to mandalay
The improved hell bus
bus to mandalay
This is probably the bus we took to Ngwe Saung.
No longer in service
No longer in service

Now for the beautiful JJ Express:

bus to mandalay
Yangon train station
JJ Bus Station
JJ Bus Station
The waiting area for the minibus
The waiting area for the minibus
Like an Emirates lounge
Like an Emirates lounge
Joyous Journey!
Joyous Journey!
Like an airplane lounge
Like an airplane lounge
But better food
But better food
Comfy seats
Comfy seats
Comfortable bus luxury
Comfortable bus luxury
Rambo!
In bus entertainment
The best bus to Mandalay
The best bus to Mandalay

 <==Back to Ngwe Saung Yacht Club & Resort – Onto Guns & Butter: Mandalay Travel Guide==>

6 COMMENTS

  1. Alright, so funny enough, I was looking at JJ Express yesterday to get us from Yangon to Bagan. It may be tight getting to the bus station from the airport after we land. We have almost 2 hours. Thoughts? (Not that you scoped out the bus station while in Yangon, but couldn’t hurt to ask.)

    • The airport is very far away from Yangon city center where the mini-bus picked us up.

      From there the ride to the bus station took forever with the horrible traffic. So the question is, is the airport near the bus station for JJ? That I have no idea.

      I would advise (if I finish my travel guide) staying in Yangon for the night in some terrible hotel, waking up for the sunrise to see the shwedagon pagoda, then taking the bus the next night. But I don’t know your plans.

      Also, if you do catch Yangon on the way back, realize you may be sick of Myanmar by then and your motivation to go for sunrise for another pagoda could be gone.

      • I’m reading it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to get to the JJ station from the airport. But you’ve provided some good alternatives especially since I may be pagoda-ed out after 3 nights in Bagan. I *think* we had 5-6 days total in Myanmar, but it can be adjusted as needed. Need to figure out if we can use points to get to Phnom Penh from Yangon. Thanks for your advice!

        • At one point I was going to move from Mongolia to Cambodia so I too was looking for flights from Yangon to Phnom Penh, a city name that I can’t spell correctly.

          I know AirAsia flies there so that’s an option but the price wasn’t great. I’d either do cash and points on this http://thepointsoflife.boardingarea.com/burma-thanks-avios/ or fly AirAsia/a Myanmar airline into Bangkok then use avios to Cambodia.

          Though I’m excited for you to go to Myanmar, when I look at the pictures I’m glad I’ve already done it. The place is exhausting.

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