Before making a trip to Laos and perhaps becoming a real specialist of the destination, are you capable of naming a single Laotian personality? Impossible. The fame of Laotian celebrities does not get beyond the borders of the country and their renown does not reach as far as us.
Whether they be of today or from the past, it is impossible to name a single famous person from Laos. Unless you are a true expert and enthusiast of the country, its singers, writers, sportspeople, actors or directors are probably unknown to you. You should dip into the history of the country to help prepare yourself and get the most out of your trip to Laos.
It is possible that you may hear of Fa Ngum, who founded the Kingdom of the Million Elephants, the other name of Laos, in 1353. His son, Samsenthai, was his successor. Suvannabalang and Phothisarat were also kings of the country. Sai Setthathirat was the son of the latter. He was responsible for the construction of many religious buildings. Souligna Vongsa reigned over the kingdom for 57 years, thus providing a period of real prosperity. Prince Anu of Vientiane attempted to challenge the domination of Siam. He was unsuccessful.
In more recent times, Prince Petsarath launched the first attempts for independence, but was forced to flee with his brothers, Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong.
Kong Le was an officer who attempted a coup in 1960 before having to give up under the pressure of the United States. In 1975, the Lao People's Revolutionary Party took over the country under the rule of Kaysone Phomvihane.
Today, it is possible to cite the name of Choummaly Sayasone. He is the current president of Laos and thus is also the General Secretary of the Party. With him at the head of the government is the prime minister, Thongsing Thammavong. You will warm the hearts of the Laotians by simply retaining just these two names.
It is never advisable to bring up political subjects yourself and especially never speak ill of the people in power.