Siti Zubaidah portrays the story of a land called ‘Kembayat Negara’, its ruling Sultan, Sultan Zainal Abidin and his wife, Siti Zubaidah, the central character of this story.
Sultan Zainal Abidin temporarily hands over his reign to his father, Sultan Darman Syah while the former goes off to hunt and to mingle with his subjects.
While he is gone, a business dispute takes place between the royal trader (Saudagar Berida) and a Chinese boatman (Cincu Cina) at the harbour. The dispute turns into a fight with supporters of both parties getting involved.
Saudagar Berida and Cincu Cina are brought before Sultan Darman Syah, where the Cincu Cina failed in his defense. In anger, he accuses the Sultan of accepting bribes from Saudagar Berida. Cincu Cina is sentenced to prison and his boat is burnt. However, some of his followers managed to escape and return home to China. They conveyed the bad news to the sickly Emperor who became very upset.
Siti Zubaidah is the first wife of Sultan Zainal Abidin. She is the daughter of the ruler of Iraqan Kastan. She, however, keeps her royal identity a secret.
The queen mother (wife of Sultan Darman Syah and mother to Sultan Zainal Abidin) – Permaisuri Tua – despises Siti Zubaidah and favours Puteri Sajarah (Zainal Abidin’s second wife) as she is particular about royal lineage.
After what happened at the harbour, the Chinese army – led by the Emperor’s princess, Puteri Kilan Cahaya – attacks Kembayat Negara. The Kembayat Negara army – led by Sultan Zainal Abidin – is defeated. The princess falls in love with Sultan Zainal Abidin and decides to take him to China and become her prisoner of war.
Permaisuri Tua accuses Siti Zubaidah as being unfaithful to her husband and challenges Siti Zubaidah to rescue him. Ignoring all slander, she decides to leave the palace for China. In the jungle, she runs into Puteri Rukiah, a Yunan princess who was expelled from her throne. They become friends and decide to learn the art of self-defense from an old theologian, Tuan Syeikh. The two princesses helped each other accomplish their aims. Siti Zubaidah assists Rukiah in regaining her throne in Yunan and Rukiah helps Siti Zubaidah to rescue the latter’s husband.
In China, Sultan Zainal Abidin is tortured as refuses to succumb to the Emperor and he declines Puteri Kilan Cahaya’s hand in marriage. Siti Zubaidah and Puteri Rukiah disguised themselves as male dancers and planed the rescue of Sultan Zainal Abidin. With the help from the Iraqan Kastan, Kembayat Negara and Yunan armies, the Chinese are defeated.
With brevity, perseverance, strength and loyalty of a wife towards her husband, Siti Zubaidah finally rescues Sultan Zainal Abidin. Puteri Kilan Cahaya then embraces Islam.