My first impression of it was more relaxed than mainland south east Asia. The culture there is very different due to certain factors such as predominant religions like Islam and Hinduism and the country's situation as an archipelago. The roads are smooth and traffic moves efficiently, Indonesians are among the friendliest people on the planet even if it is the country of the hard sale. I felt the way I felt when I landed in Australia for the first time: relaxed and looked after. I was slightly awed, anticipating but trying not to expect anything.
To get around Bali for as little money as possible, rent a bike for the equivalent of £2 a day. Learn some basic Bahasa and enjoy the best of Bali by endearing yourself to the locals. Most importantly, try the street food, Coffee Luwak (the afore-mentioned cat coffee) and get out of Kuta and in to the North to the rice terraces, fishing villages and mountains. I stayed in the lovely In Da Lodge in Ubud for 150,000 RP per night. There is more to paradise than beaches. Having said that, Padang Bai, the port town to the Gilis and Lombok, is well worth a visit. There is a great lack of development in this area, an abundance of diving and a secluded and empty bay here.