The way I look at it, if I could only show ONE photo to someone that had never seen the thing, which would I show them? For example in that first one (the sea of stars) — If I stood there and clearly saw the second shot with my own eyes, and later I wanted to show my mother how glorious it was, would I want to show her the second photo? Or the first?
Same thing with the castle. Both are lovely photos — but in the first one, you’d never even know there were beautiful mountains. And again in the shots of Cambodian Temples — if you never saw the second photo and only saw the first one, you’d never see those magnificent roots.
So it’s not so much that they aren’t beautiful, they are indeed. But if you could only show one, which would it be — to me that’s a good measure of which is the better photo.
And, of course — beauty is in the eye of the beholder, too.