I have just booked a flight to Sri Lanka in late May. Both of my parents are Sri Lankan but fled the country shortly before I was born due to the war. This will be my first visit to the island and I'm very much looking forward to getting intimately familiar with my roots. My entire family is making the trip, though from different hubs in the US and Kuala Lumpur. Because of this, I will have 24 hours to myself arriving at CMB at 8:45am on a Sunday before the rest of my family arrives the next morning. I'd like to stay relatively close to the airport to meet them the following day and my interests, in order, are beaches, great Sri Lankan food, nature/wildlife... (and a bar or two wouldn't hurt).
Could anyone recommend an itinerary for 24 hours including town to stay in overnight and things to do during the day? I'm comfortable traveling up to 2 hours each way for the day but would clearly prefer a shorter trip since I will be coming off 24 hours of travel as is. In regards to budget, I have been waiting my entire life for this trip so I am flexible on spend.
Also, how safe is it for someone with a Tamil last name to be traveling solo? This may be a naive question today but I'd love to get insight from those of you living in SL currently.
Thanks in advance for your guidance,