These five places in Russia will have you wondering if you’re still in Russia or have been teleported to another country it so eerily resembles. We knew that nature doesn’t have boundaries, but it took these places in Russia to make us realise it truly. By Shubhanjana Das

1. Moneron Island – Australia

View this post on Instagram

Остров Монерон. Монерон (яп. 海馬島 Кайбато или Тодомосири) — остров в Татарском проливе в 43 километрах от юго-западного побережья Сахалина площадью около 16 км². В 1905—1945 годах Монерон (под названием Кайбато) входил в состав японского губернаторства Карафуто, Сейчас, в административном отношении, остров входит в состав Невельского городского округа Сахалинской области РФ и Японией не оспаривается его принадлежность России. Площадь 16 км² Наивысшая точка 493,3 м Население (2008 год) 0 чел. На острове имеются маяк и метеостанция, они расположены на южной стороне острова. Постоянного населения в настоящее время нет, хотя следы активной хозяйственной деятельности человека на острове восходят к 1 тыс. до н. э. Постоянное гражданское население проживало на острове с 1905 по 1970 годы. На острове находятся 12 памятников культурного наследия различных эпох. Окружающие его скалы известны своими птичьими базарами. Значительным богатством отличается и подводный мир острова, куда проникают многие субтропические виды. В настоящее время активно развивается как объект экологического туризма. Фото @AndreyNarchuk и Клуб Бумеранг #ЭтоСахалинДетка #СахалинскаяОбласть

A post shared by Сахалин ☆ Южно-Сахалинск (@yuzhno_sakhalinsk) on

At first glance, the coast of the Sea of Japan could be easily mistaken for the Australian coast. Often known as Russia’s Gateway to Asia, it is the perfect place for sun-bathing and chilling on the beautiful shore for hours. Moneron Island in the Strait of Tartary will give you serious déjà vu if you have watched the TV series Lost, which is to say it is insanely picturesque.

2. Ivolginsky Datsan – Tibet

In the Republic of Buryatia is the city of Ulan-Ude where the Ivolginsky Datsan is situated — a monastery built after World War II in 1945. Like the Buddhist population in Russia, this monastery complex is largely unknown to the world, even though it is home to the Leader of the Buddhists of Russia. There are seven temples and a university in this complex where Buddhist lamas are trained.

3. Lena Pillars – China

View this post on Instagram

I 💙 #mountains

A post shared by Xenia SON (@x.sova) on

Looking at the Lena Pillars in Russia, one can’t help but be reminded of the Chinese Stone Forest, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stones in Lena Pillars started forming 540-560 million years ago on a bed of Cambrian limestone. How to get there is equally interesting — you have to take a small boat from Yatsuk via the Lena River to reach the Lena pillars, beautifully reflected on its calm waters like a perfect painting. Even though not all the pillars can be climbed, there are a few observation platforms, about 100m high, from where this unique landscape can be viewed panoramically.

4. Gorno-Altaysk – Switzerland

The Altai Mountains located in Southern Siberia, bordering Mongolia are one of the most inaccessible parts of the world due to lack of roads. Yet, the regional capital of Gorno-Altaysk gives us reason enough to believe that nature took inspiration from Switzerland for the Altai, or vice versa. Who knows!

5. Zelenogradsk – Germany

The Town of Zelenogradsk in the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad was home to German colonists and Teutonic Knights, which has visibly left its traits on the village. The village itself has a very rich history, and the backdrop of the old-school, quaint houses, and plentiful greenery is just perfect to soak all that in.

Related: Oymyakon, Russia: Life In The Coldest Inhabited Place In The World