Although the current Chakri Dynasty was created in 1782, the existence of the institution of monarchy in Thailand is traditionally considered to have its roots from the founding of the Sukhothai Kingdom in 1238, with a brief interregnum from the death of Ekkathat to the accession of Taksin in the 18th century. The institution was transformed into a constitutional monarchy in 1932 after the bloodless Siamese Revolution of 1932. The monarchy's official ceremonial residence is the Grand Palace in Bangkok, while the private residence has been at the Dusit Palace.
The King of Thailand's titles include Head of State, Head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, Adherent of Buddhism and Upholder of religions.
Every day at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Thai citizens across Thailand come to a standstill. Even in the chaotic city of Bangkok, pedestrians freeze and stop their daily grind to pay tribute to the most revered thing in Thailand: the monarchy. It is during this time that the national anthem plays, and everyone (including tourists) is expected to stop and pay tribute to the country. This is just one way in which the Thais respect their monarchy, and tourists should be careful to respect it as well. Any criticism or jokes about the royal family can result in serious jail time because of strict lèse-majesté laws.
Most of the population are Thai and there is a sizeable Chinese minority. Other groups include Malays, Khmers and mountain peoples such as the Karen and Semang. The official language is Thai, which also has several regional variations. English is becoming increasingly used in everyday life, particularly in tourist areas, and a number of Chinese languages, Malay, and regional languages are also spoken.
Great respect is paid to the monarchy and religious leaders and many beautiful festivals are held throughout the year. Classical dance and music, sculpture and architecture are the main art forms of Thailand.