How Much Bangkok Land Does The Crown Property Bureau Control?

In a recent Forbes magazine article, it was claimed that Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej is now the world’s richest monarch with a total net worth of about US$35 billion, or about 1.1 trillion baht.  Thailand’s Crown Property Bureau (Wikipedia link because Bureau’s own website is only in Thai) and Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hotly dispute the claim.

Note that for the sake of comparison, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is now ranked as the country’s 16th wealthiest person with a net worth of “only” US$400 million.

According to this article in Thailand’s Bangkok Post newspaper, the Crown Property Bureau says that the Forbes article included land and other assets controlled by the Bureau in it’s calculations of the King’s wealth, and is therefore inaccurate.

Leaving aside for the time being, questions about who is right, and what the real number should be, let’s look at a number that is not being disputed:  the fact that the Crown Property Bureau owns 3,493 acres (14.14 square kilometers) of land in Bangkok alone.

For the purpose of illustration, I’ve taken a snapshot from Google Earth showing how much land that is:

A Google Earth image of central Bangkok showing a red circle with an area of 3,493 acres.

A Google Earth image of central Bangkok showing a red circle with an area of 3,493 acres - representing the land holdings of the Crown Property Bureau in Bangkok.

Since the picture is a bit small, note that the circle is centered on the Siam Square (Central) Skytrain (BTS) station.  It extends west as far as the Prince Palace Hotel, as far east as Sukumvit 3/1 (The Middle Eastern area), as far north as Victory Monument, and almost as far south as Sathorn road (the circle bottoms out right between Silom and Sathorn). Note that you can click the picture to see a slightly larger version.  I’ve also prepared a version that is zoomed out more, and one that is zoomed in just to show the circle.

Please note that this picture in no way is meant to display the location of any land that is under the Crown Property Bureau’s control, it is simply to illustrate the area of land under the Bureau’s control.

(Note:  Special thanks to whoever created the KML Circle Generator)

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